• Paul Satchwill

I Don't Believe in Waiting It Out

Probably the most insensitive advice you can give someone is to tell them to "suffer through" something until it's over. At the end of the school year I hear this a lot. "Just suffer through. It'll be over soon." Or, another common sentiment, "just put your head down and get through." It's always said in good faith, and I say it to my students more than I'd like (which makes me think, why am I giving them work that makes me say that?). The problem with that, though, is that it makes life out to be something to be experienced, not created. "Waiting it out" translates to "just let it happen." And I'm not a fan of doing nothing. Here's why:

Waiting Is Not Active.

My students are obsessed with Fidget Spinners. These toys are devilishly addictive and remove all concentration from class content. Instead of seeing my class (or any class) as a challenge to tackle, they tend to see it as an experience they have to wait out. It'll end... eventually. But waiting is inactive, and Spinners give them something to do while they're not paying attention.

Along the same vein, telling yourself to put your nose to the grindstone only makes the experience more grueling. It's allowing yourself to become the victim and removes the necessity of active participation. If the grindstone is going to be spinning regardless, I'd rather make something useful with it.

Waiting is Wasteful.

Time is money. If I'm not 1) making money, or 2) investing my time in something worthwhile, I'm wasting my time. This week I pitched my first article to an online publication. Actually, I pitched my first *three*. I 100% expect to receive rejection emails, or more likely just never hear back, but it felt so good to DO something with my time that is an investment in my future. For so long I have thought about pitching an idea, but I was too comfortable to do it. I was too scared. But I knew that waiting to pitch an idea was only wasting my time and no one else's.

Waiting Gives Me An Excuse I Don't Need.

If someone says to me, "just wait it out," what I hear is "you're stuck in your current situation and there's nothing you can do but let it happen to you." Although it is far easier to consume what life gives to you, it is far more rewarding to create what you want for your life. Waiting takes all urgency out of the situation and makes change seem like an impossibility.

Personally, I believe that waiting something out only makes that experience worse. It demands all of your attention and convinces you that nothing you can do will make a difference. That may be true when it comes to the situation itself, but doing something can exponentially benefit your mind and your soul. If I'm struggling at work, it only worsens if that's all I think about. If I don't know what to write about, waiting for inspiration is probably not going to lead me to inspiration.

Life is going to happen and take courses that aren't always desirable. While we have to be realistic and endure seasons we'd rather not, we are far more likely to come out of them a better person if we actively take charge of the things we can control, and focus less on the things we can't.

In all times, both the good and the bad, decide to do, not wait.


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