Sept. 9, 2019

‘Being’ patient is virtuous, but waiting is no fun

I remembered almost 6 years ago, right after I started the grad school at ASU, and joined a research lab, the topic of being patient was mentioned.

In U.S., in order to get paid for the job, international students have to be authorized to work meaning that the visa sponsoring agent in written allows you to work with a specific duration and the hours a week. After that, you need file in I-9 package which includes the details for the school or company about your work. For me, the check was late. My application did not have everything to get paid. The paperwork was filed in around middle of August, the first check I received was late September.

A quite sometimes in between, and there was lots of expense I had to spend. I brought with me about $5000 to U.S. so I did not have problem with the shortage in between. Before going to the U.S., I worked and borrowed money from my Dad, that why I have that much of money. $5000 is not a small amount by Vietnamese ordinary standard. That equals to the earning of whole family middle class annually.
Between that waiting, my advisor, known as BER, mentioned in an email that patient is virtuous. I recalled his saying many time. It, indeed, rings true.
Yesterday, I watched a YouTube video “TEDxVictoria”, in which the speaker, a performance psychologist, mentioned three things to be successful: works with your feelings - not against, keep your eyes in a big picture, and going 100%. The key message there is to get (or to be) mental toughness, so that you can endeavor the life. (Well, I reviewed the YouTube to make sure that I got the details accurately).

I was on “delay gratification” more than other details. And the phrase was brought to me by my advisor last year, 2015, when I had a conversation about a big picture. How he framed himself going to write so many articles, and the challenge to get going even there is not tangible success at signs. That requires a delay gratification, in other term, an risky investment that the return is not in the short term and not guaranteed, but you believe in the return.

You see, the belief you have with each process is another topic. There is a book that I will read carefully by a physics and philosopher named Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), in which he coined the term “paradigm shift”. A moment when you believe in something that you do not have proofs, or not entirely, but you know it is true. That belief comes after the faith, which can be more spiritual or religious, a state that you are confident on what you believe is true. So you see, this story can get quite long.

For one thing though, keep your thinking in a big picture. Here is my logic. You are going to have so many small pictures, too many that you cannot be able to focus on. To be exact, you are able to keep on the small pictures until you run out of your capacity of keeping track. In contrast, you don’t have so many big pictures. My big pictures look like this: Getting good at management, leadership, and problem solving for my professional career, having a family that I support my wife and take care of the children and be prepared for the marital fight-negotiation-
compromise-moving on, and being healthy. Oh, I need to connects with my parents as well. Those are too many I can handled.

The small pictures are countless. Getting a new thing, getting a new friend, I hate that guy, I like other thing, I don’t want to work. They are small topics that you are encounter during a normal life. If you treat them as a picture, you lose sight of what is important to you, and something else that means as a passage. You will see them, but you don’t have spend all energy and get your head to that direction.

By the way, iPhone 7 is pre-ordered today. It is a new fever. Spending $900 for the new phone. That is a small picture blending in an unclear picture. It has nothing to do with my big pictures. Big pictures requires delay gratification. Small pictures bring the emotion and zeal jumping on the reactions. Would that be better to have small pictures lines up (or lead to) to big picture? Yes, of course. We are working with management and leadership. Doing the thing right and during the right thing. Doing everything right will maximize benefits of the resources you have. Doing the right thing does not give you the instant return, you need to the right thing right in order to get both. Life is fun to play with.

Oh, by the way, there is a book talking about 5 levels of leadership, life is suck, I’m suck, i’m great, we’re great, and life is great. See many topics I can jam into a journal entry.

This post was originally written in DayOne Journal in 2016. Posted with minor edits
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