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Great Things Take Time

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  24-May-2023 | Sarmad Shakeel

How many times does it happen that we look back at our lives, recall some moments and say, “I wish I hadn’t done that!’? Or how many times have we been in the middle of an assignment, a workout or even a conversation and we give up without realising that the successful end was near, and the fruits were ripening and just about to fall?

Indeed, an individual learns from his mistakes and regrets, and they make him cautious and sensible, but the lifelong principle he should acquire from them is his realisation that patience is a virtue and hastiness is a vice. This is a teaching which will make him realise the importance of being patient and persevering during the hard-working stages of life and gives him the strength and understanding to comprehend the fact that the results of hard work do not show overnight.

Sometimes being hasty in witnessing those results can even drive us to the point of giving up on labour which was the most significant element in bringing about those results. Slow and steady does indeed win the race and this lesson can be learnt from various examples we witness in our personal lives as well as the natural world around us!

From the creation of a baby in the womb to the creation of this magnificent universe, everything takes time. In fact, the greater the creation, the longer the time it takes to reach its maturity. Identical is the case with the endeavours of life. A mother has to bear a child for nine months in pain for her to hold it in her lap and marvel at its beauty. This child learns to walk in about two years, a skill which stays with him for the rest of his life. Upon reaching school, he studies for an entire year only to sit for five 2-hour examinations, the results of which determine his capabilities and abilities. The older he grows the harder the examinations become, and he rattles in this cycle till he reaches the stage of defining his opinion of success for himself.

In life, challenges are like unexpected visitors that knock on our doors, seeking to disrupt our comfort zones. They come in various forms, testing our strength, resilience, and adaptability. Whether they arrive as a small hiccup or a colossal storm, challenges are an integral part of our journey. The relevance of this example can truly be comprehended in the journey of a civil servant who spends a major proportion of his youthful life in the tedious and laborious task of encapsulating theoretical knowledge as well as the skill and effort it takes to implement it at the ground and universal level for the betterment of the nation and to provide his selfless services to the country.

In spite of clearing the competent entrance exams and qualifying the even more competent interviews, the aspiring civil servant has to go through 4 rigorous levels of training as an IPS recruit to eventually be termed as an official IPS officer. The training initiates with the 3- month Foundation Course at LBSNAA, Mussoorie, followed by a Phase I training of a Basic Course, which lasts for a good 11 months held at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), Hyderabad. The next phase is referred to as the District Practical Training, which lasts for a period of 6 months organized at the respective cadre and it culminates with a final 1-month Phase 2 training which is again held at SVPNPA, Hyderabad.

None can deny that such hard work and perseverance of the cadets is only possible due to their patience and their ability to understand the importance of time in their endeavours for this success.

The definition of this success which man chases is subjective and is often equated with happiness, but no matter how an individual perceives his notion of success to be, he must realise that hard work is only one ingredient of the two which will take him towards his goal. The other ingredient which is probably more essential is a positive, patient mindset.

A person who has the dedication and fortitude to spend countless days and nights working towards his goal but lacks the optimism and patience required to wait for the results to show will most probably intend to put an end to his toil considering it as futile. He might see the lack of immediate results as his failure, failing to realise that he fails only when he thinks he has.

If we were to question any successful personality about the secret to their success, they would inform you that it is all in mind, as has been seen in interviews, discussions and conferences. Billions have been blessed with the exact same faculties as them and thousands must have embarked on the journey, they undertook but what made the real difference was not giving up at the point where they really wanted to and thought they should. They understood that the hard work they put in would eventually bear sweet fruits of success and if the journey is laid down with some bitter obstacles it will only make the final victory sweeter and even more worthwhile.

Living in the 21st century surrounded by truly unbelievable inventions and advancements in technology one must force himself to think when faced with the dilemma of pulling through and staying determined or quitting, where would we be as an advanced civilisation if those who took upon themselves the responsibility of evolving the world of science and technology, would’ve succumbed to failure or hoped for immediate results and consequences?

It takes about five to seven decades for an invention to turn into a significant market share, which means, some inventors don’t even get to witness their invention at its full-fledged peak performance benefiting mankind. When Alexander Graham Bell tried to sell his telephone patent to the Western Union in the late 1800s, the company’s president scoffed at the idea, and considered Bell’s ground-breaking invention as a toy! Let alone the President’s astonishment at what innovation he turned down, Bell himself would’ve been amazed at how his invention has changed the world of communication on a global as well as personal level.

Time indeed makes great things greater with appropriate catalysts. In this, there is an enlightening message for those who deem their efforts and achievements as insignificant.

Another genius mind who inspires us to look failure in the eyes and develop a stoic attitude in our journey to success is Thomas Alva Edison. His refinement of the light bulb took him an estimated ten thousand attempts. When asked about his missteps he remarks, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work!’. How can someone like him who views his failures as avenues of success be defeated in the face of challenges time brings? He strongly believed one never knows how close to success he is, “many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Pondering over the success of just these two pioneers one can estimate how many useful creations mankind would’ve been deprived of if they hadn’t let time take its time. Great things take time because success doesn’t taste as sweet if it doesn’t arrive after labour, toil, failures and lessons. And sometimes the longer they take the grander they become. One only needs to wear the spectacles of optimism and gloves of drudgery and let time unfold its ample pages of success and glory.

As Graham Bell comments at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago in 1892 via Wikimedia Commons, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Once an individual accustoms himself to look at the open doors with hope and closed ones as steppingstones, great things will definitely come in good time!