Patrick starts his working day as usual: He opens his favorite Web page to find out what’s trending in the web which sums up what is happening in this increasingly small world.
Then suddenly he finds a report on a research about a natural product which accelerates the metabolism, allowing losing weight in an astonishing way… 25 pounds in just 15 days. The same article also mentions another product to increase his muscle mass and strength with less effort, virtually overnight.
He then visits his favorite social media and reads a message from a girl he met the day before, cousin of a friend of his best friend’s brother, confirming the date for tonight. Patrick hopes this girl is the one, especially because she is very attractive if pictures are true.
Half morning passes and Patrick receives an email from an investment service advertising a way to become an overnight millionaire by using an innovative method based on studies of trends of shares in the stock market. He considers for a moment to register for this service as he has two major dreams: To be a millionaire and to master martial arts (he’s been practicing for 6 months and feels like the Karate Kid when he started practicing, cheated and that he had not learned a thing.)
His daydream is interrupted when his boss comes by and asks him to make a sales report and a technical -highly complicated- report. Patrick checks the activities for the week in his planner and finds out that he needs two days to hand the report to his boss, but the boss says the report is already overdue.
Just like drafting that report, Patrick requires overdue results in his private life. Just like many other people, Patrick has forgotten the art of patience, and gives more importance to results and outcomes than to the journey to achieve them. There are many people living in this Global microwave lifestyle and see this as something completely normal: Everything is much faster, more efficient, effortless, chemically enhanced, and available when pushing a button… when possible. They want everything and want it NOW!
I continue to be amazed when I came to live in the USA for the first time that Mrs. Fridaylover and I decided that our children started practicing martial arts as we were aware of how these help in self-control and discipline. We also know that in many places mastering the techniques and become as proficient as a master can be a lifelong journey. Coming from a slow-paced country (at least compared to this one), we were surprised that in this center for martial arts, which is true for some other schools in the area), it is a normal situation that children have exams to go up in levels and belts virtually every month as to be able to become a Black belt in just a year.
I wonder, how is possible to gain all the necessary experience, technique, and self-control of martial arts in just one year?
But of course, Rotilio would say that if you practice for many hours every day, say 8 hours without interruption, after a year you can achieve it. Let’s see, there are some who claim that to reach a degree of proficiency in any area, career, or trade you just need a dedication of around 3000 to 5000 hours. Even by practicing 8 hours every day, that would add up to 2,920 hours. Very close, right? But the truth is that in that center of martial arts, classes are taught two hours… per week, and we are not considering how difficult it is to dedicate 365 days in the year to one single activity.
If we forget the calculation of hours, the truth is that the microwave lifestyle is removing the essence of human being, which is to discover the good things on the path rather than the satisfaction of the goal, and the goal is not as satisfactory if the path was traveled without any effort, without any experiences or without life.
How in the days of the World Cup we are amazed how players make those moves, tricks, and feints. Take the Brazilians for example, the are well known by the “jogo bonito”, the bicycle, the dribble (gambetta), and other tricks in what seems to be a combination of juggling and illusion. All these feats are achieved following one single path: Many hours of dedication and practice!
Stories have it that Ronaldinho, an ex-soccer player famous by his mastery of the ball, used to spend hours and hours every day practicing since he was very young. When he wanted to learn a trick, he started very slow and divided the movements in several steps or phases. Ronaldinho did not go to the next level before mastering the previous one. After having the whole trick controlled, then he practiced until improving the speed. It took hours and hours to be able to do so, sometime months for one single trick. It is not likely that should Ronaldinho have not dedicated so many hours to his passion, we would not be talking about him today, and he would be yet another player dreaming but not acting.
A great coach I once had always said that the recipe for success consists of 1% talent and 99% sweating, and that if you were able to reach that 99% of sweating, that was enough to reach success. These are very wise words and I always remember them, especially because victory that tastes much better and is always remembered is the victory that demanded more efforts from us, and not the victory that was just at our fingertips, or by pressing a button, or inside a microwave meal.
Maybe this why fast food joints are less appreciated than a meal prepared by a chef using fresh ingredients where microwave is never used. Maybe this is why a child loves a toy he bought by himself compared to the toy given to him without any effort from him.
Everything needs effort and ripening. Everything has its own time to be complete. I am afraid that being a child these days means skipping stages and phases. Let us begin creating the change in ourselves and let’s try to develop patience, to understand that everything needs time, and that shortcuts ultimately are not the best way for personal growth and self-realization.
See you next time!
Translated by Flowing Word Xlation