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How to be Patient: Dealing with the Fire of Ambition

patience-1400812-1279x796The twenties are hard.

I know this innately having just emerged from that tenuous decade with some serious life lessons.

For the longest time I wanted things so badly I would’ve done anything. I wanted success so badly I wrote for gossip magazines and for content mills that got rich without paying me simply for the exposure.

I know what it’s like to feel as if, no matter what you do, your situation isn’t changing. I know what it’s like to fight and fight some more for some small morsel of success that is fleeting and lasts for at most, a week before you’re back to where you were before.

The thing I learned from all this is that it never lasts.

I don’t know if I was after recognition or money or if I somehow thought that recognition meant I would earn money but at my thirtieth birthday it was like a light switch went off that said, you don’t have to worry this much, you’re driving yourself crazy. It was life changing.

I know that it’s hard to be in that in-between place of being disconnected from family but still not fully having come into your own in the world. I know what it’s like to worry day in, day out about making enough money to be comfortable.

You want to make your mark on the world and then thirty hits and you realize that you don’t have to drive yourself crazy like that, sure you can hope for things but your life doesn’t depend on it anymore.

I think the biggest thing I learned in my twenties was that things take time. You have to, I mean have to learn to be patient.

There’s some notion in the minds of millennials that things should be instantaneous because everything else is, food, social gratification, it seems everything can come to you at the click of a button but success is a different story.

You have to wait for it and you have to put in the work for it.

The fire of ambition is so powerful it could burn down a forest but you have to temper it with patience, you have to find a place where your you can eke out a little bit of comfort while things are happening, and the biggest thing you can do to find that comfort is to be grateful and accept that things take time.

If you have to physically say to yourself that you accept that you have to be patient so be it, but you need to be able to be comfortable with the pace of things.

Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s because things have finally started happening or maybe I’m just wiser so things seems a bit easier but fighting through your twenties and tempering that fire of ambition, that anxiety that things aren’t happening fast enough can be the hardest thing in the world.

Take it from me though, if you just stay focused and be patient good things will come.

How to be Patient: Dealing with the Fire of Ambition

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). How to be Patient: Dealing with the Fire of Ambition. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Dec 2015
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