I heard someone say recently that ‘we’, people nowadays,

“…don’t like preparation, process or training.”

Although I don’t agree with the all encompassing ‘we’, I think his point has premise.

With the blessings and advantages of our more modern age, we can get used to things being ‘instant’. The concept of having to wait for more than a minute for something can be unpalatable to unthinkable.

Related to this -and I think where the person quoted was coming from- the need to work hard for things, push on through the obstacles, ‘be put through our paces’, etc. can, for some, also be undesirable.

As I mulled over what the speaker had said, I felt prompted to try to think of some related Ps. Here’s what I came up with/added:

*Preparation, Process, Persecution/Perseverance, Performance*

In my notes I wrote, “What do I want to relate this to?” Now here I am aiming to relate it to the topic of ‘Waiting’.

I think inherent in all those words is the tangible notion of ‘time needed’.

Preparation, implies something intentional has to take place before you can even start whatever endeavour you have in mind.

Even the quickest packet to mouth microwave meal will have preparation instructions. Which at a minimum will be to ‘remove the plastic’. As ‘instant’ a meal as it may be, at least a few secs of preparation time will still be needed.

You then wait for whatever it is to warm up. Either by standing by the microwave watching it go round and waiting for the ‘ding’ or ‘beep’. Or maybe you grab yourself a drink, wash a dish, answer a message… Finally, dinner is served. You partake, and hopefully enjoy.

Process, implies there is a systematic -though not necessarily linear- collection of measures, actions, decisions, experiences etc. that will have to happen. This, in order for the desired end result to be seen, achieved, enjoyed.

It’s worth noting, that there’s a high probability of at least some of these processes needing to be repeated. Maybe over and over again…

As for Persecution/Perseverance & Performance, I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about what they may imply.

Life, in generally, is not like a microwave meal. You’re possibly thinking, “Well of course it isn’t!”, and ‘what an obvious point’. And you’d be right. However, as hinted at earlier, I think our times have potentially created an ‘on demand’ culture.

Whether consciously or unconsciously, or by virtue of socialisation and progress, ‘we’ may well have come to extend that culture and expectation of ‘on demand’ to the more multi-dimensional complexities of this thing called life.

We want it all, we want it now. No waiting allowed.

Real, engaged with, meaningful life, will invariably include periods of ‘Waiting’. Periods of seemingly nothing happening or going round in circles, periods of struggle and so on.

Learning to live within the tension of this can be a lifelong process. Recognising that there can be purpose in it, and that we can choose to be active and not passive during it, is also something that can be learnt. The very definition of the word waiting implies some of this.

Having had a look online, this combination of ‘P’s, or the 4 P version, ‘Preparation, Process, Perseverance, Performance‘ doesn’t appear to have been used yet.

Maybe it is sonething I should mull over more. Maybe it is something I should trademark… Maybe it is something you could mull over more… But “hands off’ the trademark! 🙂

Me waiting for a very delayed train – Yogyakarta, 2008