Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle — Abraham Lincoln
Be patient, they say. Good things come to those who wait.
Okay. But I’m admittedly more than a little impatient. How long are you actually expected to wait for these so-called good things to come in? And how do you know when to stop waiting, and to get on and start hustling for them good things yourself?
I mean, there’s a long game, and there’s a long game.
I’m not someone who is going to stick around and wait for long. I do like quick results, but I get that you have to work for them. Honestly. I did well at school, I got good grades, and I can figure things out fast — which means that going slowly literally nearly kills me.
So when I’m working on a goal and it takes more time to achieve — more time than I’m happy about putting into it, I get twitchy.
And that’s exactly how I felt about retiring. I really didn’t see why I had to work so hard for so long, for such a short amount of sweet time to live life on my terms.
It made no sense.
So for several years of my career, I’d say about the 3rd, 4th and 5th year — every year my New Year’s Resolution was the same: Retire.
From about age 24 onwards — my goal each year was just to retire. And in hindsight I realise I never meant stop working, or stop contributing. It was more about not working in a job that didn’t completely light me up, making compromises and sacrifices in my personal life in order to progress in my career, and basically having more time in my garden.
By this point, I realised I wanted a homestead. And working in the city was not conducive to that plan in the slightest.
The society I was raised in teaches us that this is what retirement is for — once you’ve worked hard for a bazillion years, then, and only then, may you do what the fuck you like.
But that wasn’t going to cut it for me. I wasn’t up for 35 more years doing hard labour in a job that suddenly no longer fit with my vision for my life.
So I did something that people around me thought was crazy. I called BS on so called norms and stability and I sold up, quit my job, and set out to fast track that plan.
Good things come to those who wait?
No, Abe Lincoln is right. Good things happen when you make them happen.
So here I am a couple of years in.
I figured out how to make money out of thin air — make my own mulah. I learned how to create my own income, independent from a place of work or a job. After mastering the art of tying my laces, it’s the possibly the most empowering and freeing thing I’ve ever learnt.
After a few years in a job-job, with someone else calling the shots and having a say over my salary and my career prospects — I actually feel safer than I’ve ever done.
But I don’t have my homestead — yet.
One of my mistakes has been to give myself a hard time about the time it’s taking. I’m not there, “yet.”
But I’m a damn sight closer than if I’d have stuck to my old path.
Patience is indeed a virtue, and I guess that’s what we’re getting at with “good things come to those who wait.”
But it’s also a lie.
It’s a lie we are told, and that we tell ourselves, to stay in the system. To ignore our goals and our desires. To justify inaction. It’s the lie we tell ourselves when we put our goals and our dreams on the back burner and take the easy path instead. It’s the lie that makes the comfort zone feel… Comfortable.
Here’s the thing, though.
Goals and dreams don’t achieve themselves.
You are literally required to take action — and there’s no getting round it. Patience is a must-have, yes. You need that to keep going, so you don’t give up in the first 5 minutes.
But good things come to those who pursue them.
Do not sit on your ass and expect good things to happen.
One more time.
Do not sit on your ass.
Get started — take action, and then really the next trick is to just keep going. That’s the hustle part.
Keep taking action, keep working at it, persist.
Good things come to those who persist.
The waiting part is sheer bollocks dreamed up in order to sell a slow settling pint.
Where would you rather be? Waiting for your beer, deeply entrenched in your comfort zone?
Or out on the front line with the wind in your hair, doing all the crazy things that you always dreamed of but put off for all the excuses under the sun?
Do. Not. Wait.
When I say I got bored of waiting, what I was actually bored of was just treading water, passing time until retirement — or at least watching the days and the years go by until I could finally have the time and the resources do the things I wanted with my life.
Stepping off that treadmill and plunging into the depths of self-employment, building my work around my life rather than my life around my work has not been a journey for the faint-hearted.
But I wished I hadn’t even waited as long as I had to make that decision. I wish I’d done it earlier.
Still. One way or another, that homestead life is calling. I heard it, and I’m answering.
I’m not waiting a moment longer.