How to be Patient with Lifestyle Design

Waiting One of the most difficult parts of “lifestyle design” is that it doesn’t happen overnight.  Going against the grain, trying to step out of the shoes of the typical “9 to 5” working professional – these are things that simply take time to achieve.  From one perspective, it’s extremely frustrating.  On the other hand, if it were easy to do, more people would probably do it, to the point where it would no longer be a desirable option.

The funny thing is, some people will work extremely hard and get nowhere and others will appear to exert no effort, yet somehow success will fall right into their laps.  It’s an interesting phenomenon, and you see it everywhere.  What you don’t see, however, is the patience behind the success.  Results might be what measure success, but patience is one of the key characteristics of successful people.

Patience is definitely something I struggle with today, but  I believe I’ve found some of the keys to staying patient and not giving up.

Recognize that Failure is Everywhere

All people fail to do at least one thing that they try.  Many people fail at several attempts to do something.  There are even people who seem to fail at everything.  I’m sure reading that doesn’t motivate you.  The reason it’s important to recognize that failure is everywhere, is so that you know you’re in the company of millions when you inevitably do fail.  There I go again with my motivating words.

Here’s all you need to know: FAILURE IS NOT A BAD THING. Failure tells you that you learned what not to do next.  Failure tells you how to restructure your path to success.  Failure is one point on your time line.  It’s not the end of your time line, unless you choose to put it there. Unfortunately, without patience, failure is the end of your path.  If you’re patient, however, you can get past failure and realize that it’s not the end of your project, muse, or some other task.

Recognizing that failure is everywhere allows you to learn from it and get past it.  After all, if failure were the end, we’d miss out on so much great innovation.  This leads into my next patience tip…

Read Others’ Success Stories

This has had one of the most powerful impacts on my efforts so far and has allowed me to stop and see how my current path compares to those who eventually found success.  Each person’s path to success will vary, but it’s important to know what the path could look like or has looked like for others.

The funny thing about most success stories, is that they almost always seem to start with a fair amount of failure or a prolonged period of no success (but not necessarily failure).  You’ll often read something like, “In the first six months, I wasn’t getting anywhere, but then…” or “After my first couple failures, things began to click.”  Those aren’t actual quotes, but they seem represent the beginning of many success stories.

It would be a stretch to say that you need to fail in order to succeed, but it may be that many people who succeed right off the bat are lucky, and the instant success never fuels them to continue and grow the way that they would, had they begun with failure.  This is just a theory, but it further emphasizes why patience is so crucial.

Reading the success stories of others is one excellent way to help you remain patient.  If you see how others have stumbled on their way to success, it’ll help solidify your own patience.

One place to find these stories are within many of the blogs you read – click the blogger’s “about me” page, and it may share his or her story of success.  A favorite place of mine is Mixergy – if you haven’t been there, it’s excellent place to find interviews of fascinating, successful people who are there to share their stories and keys to success.

Follow Your Passion

You hear this all the time, but it’s so true and important that it needs to be repeated.  Patience on its own can be quite boring.  The more passionate you are about what you’re doing, the easier it will be to remain patient while you’re waiting for success.

If you’re not following an interest or passion, trying to be patient (no pun intended with what I’m about to say) is like sitting in a doctor’s waiting room without magazines to read.  You’re bored out of your mind.  When it comes to lifestyle design, if you’re not seeing the results you desire and you’re not following your passion, you will get bored and will find it extremely difficult to resist the urge to give up.

Do you ever stop to look at someone successful and think, “How come they make it look so easy?”  The simple answer is: they are passionate about what they do.

Stay Focused

This has probably been my biggest problem so far.  When I try something, and it doesn’t succeed very quickly, I become impatient and I jump to something else hoping to strike success quickly.  What happens is that instead of focusing on doing one thing really well and being patient with the results, I wind up with multiple projects where I’ve only given a mediocre effort.

A recent example of this is my autoblogging passive income experiment.  Because it takes time to get traffic to these autoblogs, it’s very tempting to give up and move onto something else after putting time into 10 blogs and seeing no results early on.  I’m trying to remain patient and stick to my original goal of 30 autoblogs in 30 days – a sample that I believe will be large enough to properly evaluate the passive income potential.

Take a Break

Nothing kills a plan or process like overworking yourself and burning out.  I see this at my job far too often – people work incredibly hard (often to “prove themselves”), only to find themselves quitting shortly after.  They may have gone into the job excited and eager to work, but failure to take a break forces them to give up.  I was like this at one time, but have since learned my lesson.  Work is important, but it’s not worth killing yourself over it.

Impatience often leads you to think that more work is the only solution.  Results aren’t appearing as expected, so you think, “Maybe if I keep working harder and harder, they’ll come quicker.”  Sometimes this is true, but it comes at a steep price – you kill your desire to continue, due to stress and overworking yourself.

Don’t take this to mean that hard work doesn’t pay off, or that hard work isn’t necessary.  There’s a fine line between hard work and overwork.  If you feel yourself growing impatient and facing the desire to push your working limits just to see results more quickly, stop and take a break. It will do wonders for your mind, and you’ll return from your break refreshed and ready to continue your work.

Find a Mentor or Someone Who Motivates You

Sometimes being patient comes down to having someone there to support your mission.  Having the support of another person can provide you with unlimited patience. Knowing that you have someone interested in what you’re doing and interested in your success will keep the fire burning through tough times.

Personally, I don’t have someone who provides me with explicit support.  I know my girlfriend supports me, but she’s not exactly interested in my pursuit for automated income online (nor would I expect her to be – let’s face it, this type of work is often boring to an outsider).  Don’t worry though, I have a solution for you if you don’t have a real life person to motivate and support you: follow other people online who speak motivating words and provide stories of success and failure.  Read the blogs of like-minded individuals who you admire or who are doing what you hope to do.

For me, it’s reading the Tim Ferriss’ book or blog.  When I’m growing impatient or becoming unmotivated, I’ll often pick up The 4-Hour Workweek and read a few random pages or a chapter.  It doesn’t end there, however.  I read a lot of other people’s blogs who have great,  motivating things to say.  One such example is Maren Kate’s blog, Escaping the 9 to 5.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of successful people who blog today and will offer you an incredible amount of indirect support and motivation through the posts that they write.

Start a Blog

This is the reason I started My 4-Hour Workweek. Starting and running a personal blog about your endeavors will allow you to make your goals and plans public.  This is great for holding yourself accountable for the things you say you’ll do.  It’s one thing to declare your goals to yourself, but it’s another to speak them to the world via an online blog.

If you have good things to say and you write somewhat frequently, people will come.  The great thing is, these are people who are interested in your success. They want to see you succeed, just the same as you read about others’ success for your own personal motivation.  Declaring your goals, plans, and ultimately your results in the form of an online blog will not only keep you held accountable to yourself, but also to the hundreds or thousands of people who read about what you’re doing.

I’m grateful for the people who currently read my blog, and it’s one of the primary reasons I haven’t given up and why I refuse to give up.


Hopefully after reading these tips, you’ve calmed yourself down and are ready to approach lifestyle design with patience and motivation.  There are definitely a lot of roadblocks along the way, but you have to approach them with the mindset that they can ALWAYS be overcome.

If you have a blog to share with your own story, or have your own tips for maintaining patience, I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

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18 Responses to “How to be Patient with Lifestyle Design”

  1. Just take it one day at a time. Learn new something everyday. Read the 4 hour workweek book once a day (a page or two) even if you’ve read it all. And connect with others that have made it.


  2. Great article!

    I think the best way to stay patient is to always have your end goal in sight. But there should be a limit to your patience. If something you try really doesn’t work either change your approach or try something else.


    Eric Reply:

    @ Rene – Great point. Sometimes TOO MUCH patience is a bad thing, especially for a project that has no chance at success. That’s probably one of the most difficult things to figure out – when is the right time to give up?


  3. @Wilson – “Taking it one day at a time” is one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve heard. It’s amazing how breaking things down into smaller pieces allows you to be patient when you begin to feel like things are going nowhere. Thanks for the comment!


  4. Hi Eric! Glad I stumbled across your blog. You’re exactly right that lifestyle design is a process. I’m looking forward on following your journey.


  5. Excellent advice here Eric. The biggest thing for me with starting my blog was the motivation I got from James Richmond the InfoPreneur. That guy really gets me going.


  6. @ Tony – Thanks for the comment! Glad to have you as a follower – hopefully my journey will provide you with some insightful information.

    @ Mike – Thanks for the kind words. I like your blog, by the way – I’m always looking for new people to read about (for me, reading other peoples’ journeys is the most motivating thing I can do for myself).


  7. Great idea to document your progress through your blog it makes you accountable.

    I work as a mentor with a number of businesses and it’s amazing how much they benefit from it. Sometimes they have a problem which is really cuttingg them up and causing them worry and to be able to give them the confidence to make a decision can have dramatic impact on their business.


  8. Great advice Eric. I’m so glad to see others talking about the realities of lifestyle design and that it takes determination and patience. It can be hard to keep at it if you feel everyone around you had almost overnight success. And the truth is that most around you did not. It just appears that way when you read certain accounts. But making it happen is certainly possible. There are many of us out there who have!


    Eric Reply:

    @ Matthew – I definitely agree. Having a mentor or at least someone you can follow really does help your confidence.

    @ Carmen – Thanks! The appearance of “overnight success” is probably the worst thing to consider when you’re working hard. It’s hard to be patient when you expect results very quickly, so it’s just a matter of realizing that things take time, especially if you want success that is sustainable.


  9. Great article, Eric. Beside he 4hww book and Maren Kate site, can you pls recommend some other stuff usefull to read? Maybe you could create a recommended materials page.


    Eric Reply:

    @ Florin – Yes, I have tons of resources to recommend. :) In addition to my monthly reading list, I plan on posting a resources page sometime in the next couple of weeks, which will contain tons of resources that I use and think others would find helpful. Just keep checking back here, and I’ll make an announcement once it’s complete and published on this site.


  10. Ok, Eric, thanks for the answer. I will continue reading your posts :-)


  11. Llyle Chompfsky Reply May 16, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I really like your blog. It’s nice to find another person who is inspired by Ferriss and to be able to get their perspective on his material, in addition to their own journey. Getting started can be quite difficult, scary etc, and it’s great to see other people that are on the path, to learn from each others struggles and successes. Thanks for sharing your insights!


    Eric Reply:

    @ Llyle – Thanks for the kind words. Yes, this journey is scary for sure, but that makes it all the more exciting to me. Glad to have you as a reader of my blog!


  12. Eric,

    I totally agree. I have been working on my own redesign for the last ten months and find this to be very true. In the past, I spent a lot of time focusing on advancing my career but now I have put that on cruise control to turn my attention to “living”. It has been a great journey so far and I decided to take the next step and start documenting my story online.


    Eric G. Reply:

    That’s awesome, Ryan. Stay dedicated to your blogging (I assume that’s what you mean when you say you’re documenting your story online), and it will be very personally rewarding for you.


  13. Failure is indeed not a bad thing, as long as you learn something from it and don’t repeat the same mistakes again. Trial and error are the main words in everything we learn, that means from the start we’re already prone to mistakes, so the sooner we get used to failure – the better.
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