I don’t remember the movie I was watching the other day, but there was a memorable line that struck me, both on a personal and professional level. During one of the more docile scenes, the main character, whom I tragically can’t recall, calmly and confidently turns to one of his cohorts and says to him, “You know, waiting is a lost art.”
Perhaps, it was the coolness of the actor speaking the words or maybe the simplicity in the dialogue that first appealed to me. What makes more sense now, however, in terms of drawing my attention, is the fact that this simple phrase so concisely sums up a huge struggle facing public relations and marketing professionals, business owners, parents, teachers, children, and many others in our society today – the growing demands for instant gratification.
We see this trend in all fabrics of our lives both at home and in the workplace, whether it’s deciding what to eat for dinner; trying not to “flip out” when your toddler won’t stop getting out of his bed in the middle of the night; or working to meet the high expectations of a boss, client or peer. It even reveals itself when we don’t take those few extra minutes to think about an issue or problem before making an impulsive decision… just ask my wife or parents!
As much as we council our clients or children or employees to take a step back, think and set a strategy before making important decisions or to “stay the course” when investing in something like an exercise program or advertising campaign, the reality is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do so in the culture that we’ve created, for a variety of reasons.
Why am I laying out the facts in this way? So that I/we no longer use them as an excuse. This unfortunate trend doesn’t mean that qualities like patience, strategic thinking and foresight no longer have value in our world. In my mind, it’s quite the opposite. Instead, it’s the individuals, companies and PR/marketing pros who possess these once expected qualities that now offer the most value and who often times lead the most productive lives.
We’ve all heard the phrase “steady wins the race” a thousand times before, but perhaps its meaning has never resonated more, at least for me. In 2015, I’m going to try waiting on for size.