How to be patient to achieve our goals (mainly in business) –

It’s not easy. I have been a very impatient person in my early life. I wanted to get everything done immediately, right now. Is it only me? Or is this happening to a lot of people now?

I wrote about instant gratification. Read my post about How Social Media Harmed Our Brain

adjective: patient
able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

I thought perseverance is what matters most, but patience plays a big role in achieving goals.

There are many things in life that require time, not only hard work. If we do something at the right timing, we may be far more efficient, effective, and successful. In the process of waiting for the right timing, we need patience, not perseverance.

This post is about how to be patient enough to achieve our goals, mainly in business.

Being patient is not about waiting. Being patient is about doing the right things every single day, to achieve a specific goal. Being patient means being consistent in our pursuits, but flexible in our methods and order. We don’t always need to achieve A before we achieve B. We can achieve B first. We don’t always need to use a specific method to achieve something, we can use other methods. And sometimes these new methods would take time, but can we wait?

My mom always told me to be patient. She always told me that good things take time. We should never expect to get results in a very short time.

In 2014, Tokopedia, a leading marketplace in Indonesia, raised $100,000,000 from SoftBank and Sequoia Capital. Both investors are some of the most respected ones in the world of internet startups.

What people don’t talk about enough is the fact that Tokopedia was started in 2009. They fought their way for 5 years to eventually land the most important investment for them. That is not easy. It’s tough. That, for me, is being patient.

Practicing patience / perseverance

Several reasons why we are impatient and how to work around it:

1. We do not have any benchmark on how much we need to work or to wait, for a specific goal

If someone tells you to wait for him/her for 1 hour in advance, we might not be angry and we can plan out something else to do. If someone never told us that he/she will be late until the last minute, we would not have enough time or chance to do something we want, even if he/she would only be 30 minutes late. We would be angry / uncomfortable.


Indefiniteness makes us impatient. We love sureness. We might love uncertainty sometimes, but we don’t love bad uncertainties that may make us lose something such as time, money, or something else.

This is also the reason why most people prefer to become an employee. It is a sure way to make money, and as long as you do well, you will make a certain amount of income.

How about taking some risks? Start a business? That sounds great, but what if I tell you that this business might not make money for the long run. Your hard work will be gone even after your hard work for the next 3 years?

This is when people get impatient. Most people will stop, some will continue. What I want to emphasize before you misunderstand is this: Stopping is sometimes better than continuing. Continuing is sometimes better than stopping. There is nothing certain.

So, how do we have this benchmark to know whether we need to be patient or to stop?

The Dilemma: When to continue, when to stop.

I have personal experiences in this. This dilemma is huge.

Should I continue, or should I stop?

Will I be wasting more time if I continue, of will I waste the time I have spent if I stop?

How do we find the right answer?

It’s simpler than I imagined. It is to collect the right information. Read my post about How to understand something

Let’s solve the dilemma of when to continue, and when to stop:

  • Get Simple Facts: We need to talk to right people. We need to ask the right question. We need to search for the right keyword on Google and find the right answer. If your idea never succeeded in the past anywhere in the world, there is high chance it won’t work in where you are. There are also exceptions like Tesla and SpaceX. But come one, not all of us know how to build a rocket, do we?
  • Get Detailed Background: If the idea worked somewhere in this world. We need to know who the people that made it happen. What was the background? What was the reason behind the success? and so on.
  • Make Decision: If no one ever succeeded with your idea anywhere in this world. You are whether a genius inventor or those who tried have failed. If someone succeeded before, you can proceed if you have what it takes to pull it off. If you don’t, do you have the patience and perseverance to make things work? If yes, go on! Whatever your decision is, will shape a part of your life.

However, the process of collecting the right information and understand is the hard part. We often decide with our feelings. It can be good. I made decisions with feelings in the past. Now, I make decisions based on data. It is your choice to choose your way to make decisions. There are successful people who achieve things because they believed in something and make decisions with gut feeling. There are also successful people who achieve things with data-driven decision making.

As a simple fact, it makes more sense to duplicate what somebody has succeeded before and add our own competitive advantage into the idea, and build something from that. But heck, I may be wrong. 🙂

2. We expect instant gratification

We can’t wait to get what we want right now. This is happening because information around us is being consumed at a pace faster than ever before. We expect things to be easy and simple. Many of us give up easily, compared to our parents and grandparents.

This is bad. We don’t become a great basketball player in a year. We become one by practicing every day for the next 10 years.

Instant gratification has made everyone craving for instant riches. Everyone wants to start another Unicorn startup. They want to rush for the 1 billion dollar valuation. That’s the dream, isn’t it? 🙂

The only way to get out of the Silicon Valley story is to get perspectives from different industry around the world, to study various success stories of businesses that did not raise venture capital. One of my favorite startups is GitHub, it is profitable from day one and raise $100 million as first funding.

How about the story of Coca-Cola? That’s a good one too. Instant noodles are fast but unhealthy. I’m pretty sure Coca-Cola and its other new products will keep dominating more markets in the future.

3. We are not trained to persevere

Generation Y is not trained to persevere. We were not born during war time. Unlike our grandparents, they needed to fight for their life. My grandfather used to boil tree roots to feed his family. My parents used to work part time since they were 13 years old.

They are tough. Generation Y is a lot weaker. We need to learn perseverance from our grandparents and our parents. We need to earn the perseverance.

Naturally, generation Y from a broken family or half-broken family (not very bad) will be able to persevere better. I would always bet on the people who have gone through tough times to lead a project or a company. Tough time doesn’t last, tough people do. It is not easy to start a company. We need tough and brave heart.

I wrote about How to be strong ; I believe this can help those that want to be mentally strong with unnatural way, by creating his/her own artificial pressure and push himself/herself to be stronger (We can actually design our lives).

With this post, I hope I can contribute in challenging your mind. I believe we always need to ask the right questions. We shouldn’t let the world keep pushing us the answers they think is right, should we?

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