We are impatient. We add a new practice that we know is good for us but it fails to enhance our experience. Consequently, we tire of the extra effort without a notable payoff and slip back to the same dull routines. Patiently taking time for wellness challenges our resolve, tests our commitment, and invites doubt about the effectiveness of a new practice.
Last year, I took several cutting from my ground cover, soaked them in water, dipped them in rooting hormone, and placed them in a pot of soil. With proper water, and protection from the sun, the leaves remained green, and they began to sprout tender roots. After a month, I placed them in the ground on my barren side yard.
I fertilized and watered them, but now they faced the hot summer days without protection. A few died, but most lived. However, they were not growing. They remained the small, green twigs, that I originally cut from the parent plants. The care I provided was just enough to keep them alive. Once the summer heat began to mellow, almost magically a few of the cuttings took off, not only sprouting a few new leaves, but growing new branches, and spreading along my barren hillside.
Patience and Blessings
T. Franklin Murphy wrote, “we yearn to be the main character in a beautiful fairy tale. We seek a personal Holy Grail of enlightenment, discovering our calling, our purpose, and our salvation. With patience, we are rewarded with fascinating finds and beautiful discoveries; but often the discoveries are small, not the great enlightenment we expected. Don’t disregard these small learnings; the small pebbles of discovery must be collected, saved and integrated to reconfigure our lives” (2018).
Its difficult to wait for the blessings. We naturally weigh costs against benefits. Our brains are firmly established in their current modes of operation. A shot of healthy activity is not enough to rewire well established patterns of feeling and behaving. We easily get discouraged, throw up our hands, and complain that “life shouldn’t be like this.”
Calvin Coolidge taught, “nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Persisting in the Right Things
Persisting alone is not enough. If we take time to practice behaviors that do not bring the expected blessings, our persistence fails. Perhaps, this is why I spend so much time exploring psychological research on wellness. We will never have a perfect understanding on what makes us feel well and what leads to flourishing. However, we do know certain truths. A handful of healthy behaviors have stood the test of time. Unfortunately, some believe that once they are well then they will adopt the healthy behaviors. No, this doesn’t work. We take time to act well first, and then, wellness eventually follows. Taking time for wellness behaviors is a necessity for growth, Happiness, the eudaimonic kind, requires work.
Along with basics, we also must avoid the things that destroy wellness:
And then, of course, learn to treat or adapt to the elements in our life that we have little control over:
- illnesses and disease
- the economy
Focusing on the Goal
If we are to persist, traversing the pre-emptive buckle, we must keep an eye on goal, remembering why we made the effort to change in the first place. Goals may serve as the carrot, dangling in front, inspiring that little extra effort needed to get through another day.
I have also learned that the goal cannot be the only focus. When I take my grandchildren for a walk, I get to destination focused. My grandchildren want to stop for every leaf, stick, and bug. They are fascinated with the process, not so concerned about the destination. We need some of both.
A Few Final Words on Taking Time by Psychology Fanatic
Find a few things to work on. Be patient. One small step at time. Life does bless those who add healthy behaviors and eliminate destructive ones. It just takes time for changes to root, and start taking on a flourishing life of their own.
Psychology Fanatic New Article Updates
Murphy, T. Franklin (2018). Change Takes Time. Psychology Fanatic. Published 7-2018. Accessed 10-14-2022.