Hate To Wait? How To Benefit From Waiting

I hate to wait. There’s something in me that says “now is the best time” to have that new phone, dinner reservation, or promotion at work. Waiting is part of life, I’ve found 7 ways to benefit from waiting. 

Waiting is not very popular. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I just love waiting!” Amazon.com knows this and launched free same day delivery for it’s Prime customers (which includes me!).

The most painful 8-minute wait I regularly endure is while the steaks rest between the grill and eating them. There is a pay-off, however. Waiting allows the juices in the meat to redistribute, making it juicier and tastier.

The fact is we have to wait. Besides better steaks, there are a number of benefit that come from waiting.

3 Ways To Wait – Only 1 Is Helpful

I’ve noticed three distinct patterns that people waiting fall into:

  1. Not waiting. Some people don’t wait. They jump the queue. They do whatever it takes to avoid waiting – short-cuts, bend the rules, and change goals to keep charging ahead.
  2. Passively waiting. Some people resign themselves to waiting. They are victims, unable to do anything, so they focus their minds elsewhere until their wait is over.
  3. Actively waiting. Other people wait in an engaged way. While not taking short-cuts, they embrace waiting by continuing to reflect on and work toward their desired outcome.

The downsides of not waiting is obvious, the consequences of short-term thinking catches up to us quickly.

Passively waiting causes many to be unprepared, and can actually prolong the wait. Last year, I sat talking with a friend in front my gate at the airport. He was on a different flight. I waited so passively for my flight that it left without me! There is a better way to wait…

How To Benefit From Actively Waiting

Waiting doesn’t mean that we do nothing. We are not victim of the wait. Nor are we wasting time. There are ways in which we can use the dreaded waiting period to our benefit. In order to do that, we have to actively wait. Here’s how:

  1. Actively wait by turning the experience into character development. Waiting builds patience and endurance, which we need in order to accomplish the more challenging and meaningful things in life.
  2. Actively wait by re-examining your desires, priorities and logic for wanting it. Waiting provides built in safe-guards against impulse or otherwise poor decision-making.
  3. Actively wait by paying attention to shifting circumstances that may lead to a way forward. Waiting can bring better conditions and more favorable outcomes if we’re watching for them.
  4. Actively wait by fully engaging in the here-and-now, rather than living in the future. Wait by doing the work that needs to be done to prepare for when your wait is over. When the present catches up with the future, you’ll be ready.
  5. Actively wait by sticking to your values. Waiting tests our values. Living with integrity is not easy but in the end is much more rewarding and meaningful than jettisoning them when the stakes are high.
  6. Actively wait by adopting a mentality of contentment. Waiting helps us to be truly happy by escaping the never ending got-to-have-it-to-be-happy trap.

While voices in us and around us says, “Don’t wait!”, waiting has its benefits. To be effective leaders we must develop character traits that come from actively waiting. Wisdom is learning to judge when to wait and when to press forward.

What you are waiting for? How could you apply these active waiting suggestions to your situation?

Question: What benefits have you received from waiting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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    2 thoughts on “Hate To Wait? How To Benefit From Waiting

    1. This has been my most memorable post this year.
      Within this blog the most beneficial for my personal life was to actively wait by fully engaging in the here-and-now. I am learning to do the work that needs to be done as I prepare for the future. I am engaged and eager to get married, but there is a lot I need to do before that. Actively waiting has calmed me down to work toward that future. Thanks, Allen