How To Stay Patient While Working A Job You Hate

Nicolas Cole Instagram

I was the most impatient kid ever.

It took me a long time to learn that if you don’t like where you currently are, or what you’re currently doing, there is no sense in sitting there wondering about all the other things you could be doing.

Invest that brain power into solving for the situation, plain and simple.

The truth is, most people don’t have the patience for this process. They would rather complain their way through each day, rather than working relentlessly to get done what they need to get done in order to change their life situation.

Let me give you an example. 🔗

After I graduated from college, all I wanted to do was wake up each day and work on my writing.

My own writing — not someone else’s.

Of course, I had to pay the bills. I had just moved into my first tiny apartment. I had to eat. Had to pay for my train pass. So I had to work — and living downtown Chicago, I had to work a lot for a little.

Every single morning, I would leave my apartment around 7:30 a.m., take an hour train to the office, work on other people’s writing until 5 or 6 p.m., then take an hour train back home. By then, it was 7 p.m. and I was exhausted — and I still wanted to go to the gym.

So when would I make time for my own writing?

I wasn’t making enough money to save any. I was exhausted my time I got home. When would I ever make enough where I could have more hours in the day to do what I really wanted to do?

For months, I tolerated it. I went to work. I came home from work. I went to the gym. And then I went to bed.

And every single day that went by, I asked myself, “Would this be my life forever?

Eventually, I snapped. 🔗

I came to some sort of conclusion that unless I was willing to work double-time, my life would never change. I would always have to wake up early. I would always have to work 8–10 hours. I would always come home exhausted. And I would never do what I truly wanted to do, which was work on my own writing.

So, I forced myself to do the 1 thing I knew would move the needle.

I wrote.

Every single night, after coming back from the gym, I would turn off my phone, make myself dinner, and sit down at my desk. And the first 30 minutes were grueling — always. There wasn’t a single night when, on some level, I wasn’t dead tired. Still, I forced myself to sit there: 9 p.m. to midnight. Every night. No matter what.

One year went by, I had made huge strides on my book.

Two years went by, I was a Top Writer on Quora.

Three years went by, I was a 2x Top Writer on Quora and an Inc columnist.

Four years went by, I was a 3x Top Writer on Quora, a Top 30 Inc columnist, a published author, and had successfully quit my 9–5 to become a freelance writer.

Five years went by, I started my own company with one of my closest friends, scaled it to 20+ full-time employees, 60 clients around the world, and 7-figures in annual revenue.

Staying at a job you know isn’t your end-game isn’t just about being patient. 🔗

On some level, it is, because you have to not hate the process. For me, I showed up to work every day trying to find something new to learn. As my grandma used to say, “You can learn something from everyone.” I believe that’s true.

But more than patience, it has to do with grit. 🔗

Nobody was paying me to stay up late.

Nobody was there cheering me on, telling me to work on myself and the skills I wanted to acquire for myself.

That was all on me.

And I didn’t see results a few weeks later. Or a few months later. Or even a year or two later.

It took me four years to change my situation as drastically as I did. 🔗

But you know what?

Looking back, it’s as if it happened overnight.