The Flake Factor: The epidemic of impatience

I am in love with science. I was a Behavioral Neuroscience major in college and a bio geek in High School, complete with AP science courses, the whole 9. I am fascinated with technology. We can now unlock our cellphones with our fingerprint! The advances are astounding and in some cases, life saving. There is no denying that there are positive sides to the technological take-over we are experiencing. However, I feel lately I am seeing the negative ones more so than the positives.

We are living in the land of “Right Now.” Whatever you want you can have it and you don’t have to wait or work, you just have to push a few buttons and bam its yours. This sounds great, but I think there’s a good reason we weren’t all born with a magic lamp, with a little genie that pops out, sounds like Robin Williams and grants us three wishes; and I think that reason is because as great as it sounds in theory- that being given something simply by asking for it is not only negative, but counterproductive.

In order to truly be prepared to receive something you desire, you need to do work. Mental, physical, spiritual and emotional work. Otherwise, when something is given to you- you won’t know what to do with it, how to enjoy it. This happens constantly now-a-days. People are given things they “want” and then they feel unhappy for a moment with it and then bail on it- or worse, complain incessantly. “I got this job but its long hours and my feet hurt and my boss smells like cheese.” Its always, I got what I wanted BUT I’m not a hundred percent thrilled so I will be bailing on it as soon as I find something better. They want success but are too lazy to do the work. They want the up but can’t weather the down…. The Flake Factor.

We all know flakiness is rampant. People say-” Sure I can make your birthday party” and then the day-of you get the ” I got kept at work, then my grandma died, my car broke down and I broke my neck… so I can’t make it- Im SO sorry” text message. This may not seem like a big deal- but it is ( and you realize how big of a deal it is when people bail on YOUR birthday- but thats a different point for a different day). How you do one thing is how you do everything. Being able to keep your word is an EXTREMELY important skill. Reliability is intrinsically tied to success. You CANNOT win if you don’t show up and people do not want to work for someone who can’t follow through. For people to want to work with you and for you, they need to be able to trust your word.

You can try to justify it, “Its not a big deal, just someones party, lunch etc.” but when you make a habit of failing to follow through, that habit will follow you and so will the reputation. Relationships with friends, co-workers, significant others and family are built on loyalty and part of being loyal is keeping your word. If you say you are going to be somewhere, be there. Make a habit of honoring your commitments in all aspects of your life, I promise you its an integral skill to a successful, happy life. Don’t think people don’t notice. They do. I remember every single time someone’s dog died when they were supposed to show up for me.

Being loyal is another KEY ingredient in being successful. Not only loyal to people but to dreams and jobs as well. In the age of “right now” the idea of working for anything seems lost. Here’s the bitter truth- you are NOT going to be happy every moment of every day of your life. Let that sink in, then deal with it and move on. Being unhappy, anxious, uncomfortable, mad, indignant, downright POed- is part of life. Take it in stride. Put on your rain boots and weather the storm. Tenacity is a noble quality. To ride something to the top, you need to be able to hang on to it. When the going gets tough the tough hold on for dear life and never give up. These days people are unhappy for one second and they are using drugs, they are tired for one second and they are double fisting Starbucks at $6 a pop, mad at their spouse and they cheat, pissed at work and they quit. This is a recipe for disaster. The only time you will feel accomplished is when you FACE difficulty, not show it your butt as you run away crying.

It is so important to become mentally strong. When you are in a position and you feel negative feelings, you are being given an opportunity. An opportunity to grow up and become stronger and better. I urge you not to quit and take the easy road but to do some mental work- take some time to re-evaluate, analyze your feelings, adjust your perspective, ask for advice- BE PATIENT. Things worth having take time to acquire and it seems like lately no one has the time, for anything. At a red light, you have to send a text message. At a pause in conversation with a friend, gotta check your e-mail. We are so pressed for time that we can’t focus our energy on one thing at a time- EVERYTHING is a multi-task now. Getting more done right? But how much are you missing? I would say, too much. And don’t try to give me “the aren’t enough hours in the day” speech as an excuse for texting while driving while eating while applying lipstick. You have just as many hours in your day as Ben Franklin and Einstein had- and they made it work.

I would seriously argue that every major problem facing mankind right now is a product of over-accessiblity and a lack of patience. Obesity, drug abuse, alcoholism, sex addiction… you want it right now, you have it right now and you don’t take the time to consider the consequences. I urge you to slow down. Start today. Do one thing at a time. Spend time with your loved ones with your cell phone out of sight. Take a walk in nature, without your Ipod, just with your imagination. Follow through and show up- even if your tired or don’t feel like it- just show up and make the best of it. Struggle. Put your best effort in, even when something sucks. Cultivate a sunny disposition, find the humor in things, don’t text and drive, be empathetic, be HUMBLE, remember you are not the only person on the planet- we are ALL late, hungry and tired; and most importantly PAUSE. Don’t act on every single feeling, every whim. Just because you can get dominoes at 2 am doesn’t mean that you should. By choosing not to order the pizza you could end up with $5 more dollars and 5 less pounds. Take your life into CAREFUL consideration, consideration that doesn’t happen at the speed of text. Remember that with every single choice, you are shaping your current reality and your future circumstance. Your life is your responsibility, so take it seriously. Don’t get so lost in a world of status updates and instagrams that you miss the world thats right in front of you… and always remember the story of the tortoise and the hare- slow and steady kids, slow and steady.

One thought on “The Flake Factor: The epidemic of impatience

  1. Golden post Dana. Lots of wisdom in this…every kid should read this. I’ve blogged about this tons of times too, but not as eloquently as you put it. Sometimes I think its a generational thing with those of us who remember pre-facebook/iphone days. Then again, sometimes I think it’s just human nature and why a small small % actually makes their own success, while others only follow and, at best, fill the role of a cog in a big corporate machine. Been this way throughout history. Keep posting! Love how your mind works.

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