x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The faster we go, the more we tend to leave behind

One of my worst habits is being impatient, Manar Al Hinai writes in her weekly business column.

One of my worst habits, which I would love to change, is being impatient. I dislike waiting for anything to happen. I want it here and now, if not sooner. But growing up, and experiencing different walks of life, I learnt that good things really do happen to those who wait, and so I tried to train myself to become more patient for the sake of my career.

However, when I look around, impatience is becoming a defining characteristic of young people within this generation, and compared with them my habit may not be so extreme. How so? A good friend of mine did not last in her new job more than a day, because she felt that this was not where she saw herself. She stayed only one day at her well-paying job, and did not think it was worth it to try it out for another day, or a month at least.

Another friend, with a great sense of fashion design and styling, spent a couple of months designing her debut collection, which could easily be mistaken for high-end designer work, only to quit a couple of weeks later because none of the boutiques she contacted responded to her inquiry about stocking her line.

"If I don't get promoted to a managerial level in the first year, then I know that it's a sign to change my job. I want to save as much money in 10 years before I retire and I can't afford to waste my time in the wrong place," said Fatima, a 23-year-old fresh graduate. I could not help but think that she was sabotaging a good career because of her impatience. Rarely does any fresh graduate get promoted in the first year to a managerial position, let alone be promoted, for that matter.

As whiny and spoilt as these people might seem, unfortunately this is a scene that I am often encountering: the bunch of 20something, ambitious, driven and intelligent individuals who all share a bad habit of not waiting, which hurts their careers and businesses.

If their phone screen broke because of a fall, they would not go fix it, but instead buy a new one. Why should they wait for it to get fixed when instead they could be on their way updating their Facebook page or liking their friends' pictures on Instagram instead?

Researchers attribute the development of this habit to modern technology and the effect it has on young people. Being hooked to their social media accounts, individuals then start to compare their lives and the time frame in which they should be receiving a response to that of the digital world. They tend to expect fast results, whether it is profit in their business, promotion in their job or response from business associates - like in the digital world when they receive on-the-spot likes for their posts or pictures.

In addition, the availability of numerous publications and information, in bookstores and online, that highlight the overnight success of entrepreneurs out there, and the rise of pop and reality TV stars, makes it seem that fast career success is closer and more available than ever.

But in the long run, slow success is better. We have a saying in Arabic that goes like this: "Whatever comes fast tends to leave fast." If you go up the ladder before building a good solid groundwork, you might be headed towards an unintended fall. And besides, you will be depriving yourself of the thrill of the chase - the anticipation and the wait for something of value and worth to happen.

When people tend to focus on achieving fast results in the shortest time frame, then they stop enjoying the process. Countless psychological studies and the famous law of attraction state that anticipating an end result, and the desire to achieve it, has a more positive effect on our lives and our being than the result itself.

Besides, since everyone is aiming to achieve results quickly, usually within three years, then aiming for results in a wider time frame, say seven to 10 years, it means there will be less competition, and you will have the chance to build a strong base. Why the rush?

 

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and fashion designer based in Abu Dhabi