by sonja thorsvik

Harnessing The Power Of Patience

In a world where instant gratification is everywhere, let’s hit the pause button and talk about patience. Consider your life and your long-term business success not as a 100-meter dash, but as an ultra-marathon. It’s about taking a pit stop from the rat race, slowing your mental RPMs, and laying the groundwork for a future filled with prosperity.

Imagine you’re standing in an orchard. The most tantalizing, mouth-watering, life-changing, wealth-generating fruits are hanging just out of reach. Down here, where us mear mortals roam, the low-hanging fruits beckon with their immediate accessibility. We’re naturally inclined to grab what’s within easy reach because we’re hungry now; we’re wired to desire and want, after all. But the crème de la crème of fruits, the ones that play hard to get, demand more effort, those are the real prize.

We might feel daunted by the hurdles in reaching the top-tier fruits – we’re short a ladder, we’re afraid of heights, we’re not giraffes with their skyscraping necks, and we’re not winged creatures. So, we might repeatedly settle for the low-hanging fruits, but this only leads to a monotonous and unfulfilled existence.

Deep within, we understand that the journey to the top-tier fruits demands sweat and elbow grease. The choice to resist the immediate and aim for the best is a reflection of our inner fortitude and determination. Something I know you have in you.

The Role Of Delayed Gratification In Success

When we focus on long-term goals and delay immediate satisfaction, we become better at planning for the future and prioritizing our responsibilities. As an entrepreneur, we have countless responsibilities. This shift towards a ‘future-focused’ mindset helps in building sustained motivation, perseverance, and self-confidence. Research backs this up, showing a direct correlation between patience and increased success rates throughout history.

Patience also helps us to avoid impulsive decision-making. When we are faced with a choice, we can take the time to think about the consequences of our actions and make a more informed decision. This can help us to avoid making decisions that we may regret later on.

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And this is what I try to impose on you – long-term success stems from an in-it-for-the-long-run mindset. Without it, you might see little pops of success, but not long-term wealth. It’s not just a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

Benefits Of Cultivating Patience

What are the benefits of patience you ask? In this exploration, we delve into the principal advantages of cultivating patience:

Improved Self-Control and Discipline

The act of resisting immediate pleasures gives us the strength to rein in our impulses, enabling us to make sound decisions even amidst challenging circumstances.

Consider a journey towards improved health and body physique. The path may be lined with sugary sirens like decadent desserts beckoning after dinner. But, by practicing discipline and patience (enter summer bodies are made in the winter speech), you find the strength to resist, opting for healthier alternatives or even skipping dessert. This restraint becomes a habit over time, building the self-control and discipline necessary to persist with your health goals, even when faced with enticing obstacles.

Better Decision-Making Skills

Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s a crucial tool in an entrepreneur’s life, helping to hone one of the most vital skills for long-term success: the ability to make well-considered decisions. This process involves a detailed analysis of the potential benefits and drawbacks of our options, evaluating the possible outcomes, and aligning our decisions with our long-term objectives.

Let’s take a page from the book of Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates. Dalio’s remarkable success in investment management is a testament to the power of patience, and thoughtful decision-making, deeply rooted in the principle of delayed gratification.

When an investment opportunity promising immediate, substantial returns comes his way, Dalio doesn’t bite the bait of quick profits. Instead, he conducts a thorough assessment, meticulously examining market trends, economic forecasts, and potential risks.

Imagine Dalio’s approach like a master chef crafting a gourmet meal. The easy route would be to use pre-packaged ingredients for a quick, but potentially mediocre dish. However, the master chef, much like Dalio, takes the time to select the freshest ingredients, considers the best cooking methods, and patiently crafts a meal that not only satisfies immediate hunger but also leaves a lasting impression. (mmmm raise your hand if you want to go eat your way through Italy with me)

Whether it’s Dalio making investment decisions or a master chef preparing a gourmet meal, both scenarios underscore the power of strategic patience. They demonstrate how taking the time to make thoughtful decisions can lead to choices that align with our broader life or professional goals.

Long-Term Goal Achievement

Patience, through the practice of delayed gratification, arms us with a robust toolkit for achieving long-term goals (and you know I love toolkits). It instills a clear sense of purpose and the resilience to endure during challenging times. Focused on long-term rewards, we can achieve our goals by making steady, consistent strides while keeping our motivation alive throughout the journey.

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For instance, if your ambition is to establish your own business, delaying gratification could involve channeling resources (like money and time) into enhancing your skills, expanding your network, crafting a solid business plan, or making a new pitch deck. By making these proactive investments instead of getting distracted and chasing every new marketing trend, you increase the likelihood of fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams.

Increased Emotional Intelligence

The practice of patience has benefits that extend beyond professional success or personal goal achievement as well. It cultivates growth in emotional intelligence, fostering empathy, bolstering emotional self-regulation, and enhancing our ability to communicate our needs effectively.

Consider the dynamics within personal relationships. Actions from your partner might trigger an emotional response in you. The easy path would be to react impulsively, maybe with anger or disappointment. But practicing delayed gratification encourages a different response, mirroring the essence of the Five-Second Rule.

This rule, popularized by motivational speaker Mel Robbins, advocates for a brief pause before reacting to an emotionally charged situation. Instead of succumbing to immediate emotional responses, you pause, counting to five. This momentary pause allows for calm introspection, letting the rational mind (aka your prefrontal cortex – the decision-making center of your brain) balance emotional turbulence. It also engages your memory center, the hippocampus, to draw on past experiences. This delay equips you to express your feelings with greater understanding and respect, fostering healthier communication, deepening emotional bonds, and fortifying relationships. Sounds good to me.

Additional Strategies To Harness Patience

We must remember that as humans, our brains are sophisticated machines wired for victory. This characteristic, while a testament to our survival instincts, also necessitates an active effort to cultivate patience. We’re programmed to seek immediate results, to triumph swiftly, and yet, life often demands patience—a patience that, if developed, can serve as a powerful ally on our journey toward success. Here are a few strategies you can try:

Set Realistic Goals And Break Them Up

Patience and the practice of delayed gratification are fundamental to entrepreneurial success, and it all begins with setting clear, achievable goals. Having a distinct vision for the future allows us to concentrate on our long-term objectives and diligently work toward them. It’s crucial, however, to ensure these goals are realistic and within reach, as unattainable targets can lead to frustration and dwindling motivation.

Let’s consider the example of a start-up founder in Silicon Valley, let’s call her Freya. Freya has a vision to revolutionize the tech industry with an innovative software solution. She doesn’t expect to become the next Apple or Google overnight. Instead, she sets clear, achievable goals. She starts with developing a minimum viable product (MVP), then aims for a successful beta launch, followed by securing her first round of funding, and so on. Each goal is a step towards her ultimate vision but is realistic and attainable in itself.

Just like Freya, we don’t gaze at that high-hanging fruit and convince ourselves that we’ll snatch it with a single leap. That’s not how it works. It might light a fire under our ass, a desire to figure out how to reach it, but it’s essential not to set ourselves up for failure by expecting immediate success. Instead, we should focus on setting and achieving realistic goals, each one a stepping stone towards that high-hanging fruit.

Create A Reward System

Creating a reward system for yourself can help to stay motivated and resist tempting distractions. A reward system can be as simple as treating yourself to something nice after reaching a milestone or achieving a goal.

For example, if you have a goal to create the best website and blog this side of the Mississippi, which requires a lot of time, effort, and steps, break them down and do them one by one. When you, for example, write ten SEO-friendly articles packed full of goodness for your audience, you then gift yourself an hour massage or a long weekend at the beach. (pro tip: Make sure you don’t take that beach vacation after just one article – that’s not enough of a dent.) This will give you something to look forward to and help you resist the temptation to scatter your time away on unnecessary actions.

Deal With Temptations And Distractions

One of the most significant obstacles in achieving our desired success is, dealing with temptations and distractions. Luring us away from our goals with promises of immediate satisfaction these are everywhere, and you know it.

It is here that the power of patience becomes an invaluable ally. Patience allows us to acknowledge these temptations without surrendering to them, to take note of the immediate pleasures they offer, and yet, opt to stay the course, focused on the more significant rewards that lie ahead. It teaches us to value the deeper satisfaction that comes from achieving long-term goals over the thrill of instant gratification.

Distractions, much like temptations, can pull us off course (read: turn off your phone notifications already for heaven’s sake). In today’s digital age, distractions are more abundant than ever, and it’s easy to lose focus and deviate from our paths. Developing patience helps us navigate through these distractions effectively. With patience, we cultivate the discipline to stay focused on our tasks, despite the incessant pull of distracting elements. This involves creating an environment conducive to concentration and consistently reaffirming our commitment to our goals.

Personally, if I feel distracted I revert back to my Manifesto. I read over it and it centers me and reaffirms me of my own goals. I’d encourage you to keep yours close and easily accessible so you can refer to it at a moment’s notice. Here is a snippet that caught my eye on this subject – you might enjoy it as well:

“I know that monuments are made one stone at a time. And so I start. And stay concentrated, grounded and centered. For many hours at a time, without being distracted by nuisances.
And in so doing-no matter what the outcome-I’ve realized a central victory. Over my darker self. And the weakness that once bound me.

And as I continue to make my small advances toward my highest ideals, my tiny triumphs introduce me to the truth and strongness within me. And this reconnection electrifies the once-damaged relationship with my most glorious self.”

– Robin Sharma, Everyday Hero Manifest

Managing Stress And Anxiety With Mindfulness And Self-Awareness

Practicing mindfulness and self-awareness helps us to be present in the moment and avoid impulsive behavior. By taking a moment to reflect on our actions, we become more aware of our thoughts, desires, and initiations. This then helps us to make more rational and well-informed decisions that align with our long-term goals.

When we’re stressed or anxious, we tend to seek immediate relief, even if it’s not in our best interest. To manage stress and anxiety, we can practice relaxation techniques such as a morning routine or taking breaks throughout our workday.

Related Article: The 3 Ways I Prioritize Rest As An Entrepreneur

Start With A Mindful Morning Routine: This could include a few minutes of meditation, journaling, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. For instance, you could sit quietly in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. As thoughts come into your mind, acknowledge them without judgment and then let them go, bringing your focus back to your breath. This practice can help you start your day with a calm and focused mind, setting a positive tone for the rest of the day. I prefer to go for a walk.

Mindful Breaks During Work: These breaks can help you reset and refocus, especially during long periods of intense work. For example, you could practice a five-minute mindfulness exercise where you focus on your senses. Close your eyes and focus on what you can hear, smell, feel, and taste. Alternatively, you could do a quick body scan, starting from your toes and moving up to your head, paying attention to any areas of tension or discomfort. These short breaks can help you stay present and avoid becoming overwhelmed by stress or distractions.

Create A Support System

Having a supportive network of friends, family, or colleagues can offer great encouragement, motivation, and accountability to help us stay on the right track. When we share our long-term goals with others, we’re more likely to stay committed to them. Additionally, having someone to talk to when we’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed can be incredibly helpful.

If you don’t have a supportive network, consider joining a support group or seeking out like-minded individuals online. There are many online communities dedicated to personal growth and development, where you can connect with others who share your goals and challenges.

Remember, patience is not about depriving yourself of pleasure; it’s about making conscious choices that align with your values and priorities.

Final Thoughts

In wrapping up, let’s remember that the true secret to lasting success in every area of our lives is mastering the art of patience through delayed gratification. This isn’t just about learning self-control and discipline, it’s about creating a powerful shift in our mindset and developing habits that are aligned with our long-term goals. Yes, it’s going to take consistent effort and practice, but I promise you, the rewards are more than worth it.

If you’re feeling stuck, if you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s time to change your approach. It’s time to resist the seductive pull of immediate rewards and set your sights on something far greater. It might feel uncomfortable, and the path might seem uncertain, but remember, the fruits of patience and discipline are transformative.

So, I challenge you to hold onto your vision, to trust in the process. Remember, it’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.

By the end of your entrepreneurial career, I want you to come to me and say, Sonja, I didn’t just get to eat the fruit from the highest branches, I own the whole damn orchard.

Even More To Motivate You:

  1. GPT-4: What Is It And Simple Basics
    • The patience required in understanding and implementing new technologies like GPT-4.
  2. POV: You’re 39 And Starting Again
    • Emphasizing the power of patience in starting over and achieving success at any age.
  3. How To Move On When You’re In A Life Funk
    • Highlighting how patience can be a powerful tool in overcoming life’s challenges.




I started my own entrepreneurial career in 2012 scaling up from $0 a year to over $100,000 each and every year. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe there are ways for all of us self-employed entrepreneurs to reach six-figures and beyond and I'm unapologetically here to show you how I do it so you can make your next best move. Let's go.

foUNDER of gigging for gold
i like my coffee black

Obsessed With Increasing Your Odds of success