The Fox Challenge: When Things Don't Go Your Way

It's always funny to me reading back on my articles thinking what a mess they first looked like at the drafting stage and how much more appealing they look now. I am still getting used to the process of hoping to write something interesting and impactful which often means starting off with something terrible, trusting myself, having self patience and discipline and working with what I have continually until the article is complete. 

I am sure many other bloggers, authors and writers can relate to this. Often you can find yourself getting increasingly frustrated when looking over drafts, overthinking and letting yourself question your work so far.  I often catch myself thinking 'Does this even make sense?' and then let the discouragement creep in.  I know I have found myself having no idea how to turn around an article to sound relatively good by the deadline I have given myself to publish it. So instead I head to the kitchen and get the addictive Kraš Napolitanke* out and manage to get through most of the packet within minutes (Why can't my writing be that successful?!?). Next the self impatience kicks in as well as a flood of thoughts that go through my head including 'Why am I doing this?' and 'This sounds boring. Will anyone want to read it?'.  

This may sound all too familiar to many people as it can apply to everyone's lives in many ways. Often, we can easily listen to the discouragement and let it take over, giving up so easily on something that has so much potential (I mean, I could have finished the entire napolitanke box but I stopped 3/4 of the way). Never give up on your dreams, people - Keep going! 

All joking aside, self impatience and a lack of self discipline can stop you from becoming the greatest version of yourself. When looking at travelling experiences, many aim to come back from a holiday feeling refreshed, happy and wanting the holiday feeling to stay. However before we even leave for a trip, the messy parts can happen. From stressing about whether we remembered to pack everything in time to realising the flight is delayed and we may miss the connecting flight, there are many stressful holiday moments that can happen to anyone. They can often override the holiday excitement and leave us feeling stressed and frustrated with ourselves or others. Suddenly the excitement and the temporary 'this is going to be the #besttripever' thoughts get thrown out of the plane window and onto the tarmac. 

C.S Lewis points out that ‘It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it’. If self patience and self discipline can be seen as benefits instead of struggles, then we may just get to the potential we previously gave up on.

Self-patience is defined as the willingness to restrain from annoyance when having an encounter with the unexpected. 

Self-discipline on the other hand is the willingness to not give up on a routine that is aimed at bettering yourself. It is seen as the ability to control one's emotions and overcome one's weaknesses.

 

As mentioned before, this of course is relatable not only with travel moments but also in everyday life.

Self patience you may find is low when you're frustrated with colleagues in your workplace or when that promotion seems like it is years away from happening. It can also be when your anxiety is at an all time high or you find yourself murmuring under your breath at the end of each day 'I'm over this'. You find your patience is tested each day yet you're too comfortable to make any changes to leave your job and find one that better suits you. 

On the other hand a lack of self-discipline may be when you are giving up on working to your best ability in your job and just giving the bare minimum or simply looking for another job but settling for the first offer rather than going through your options and being patient to find the right job for yourself. 

When we look at self-patience and self-discipline seperately, it sounds difficult, right? It's easier to just give in, be angry at a situation, dwell in that anger and then eventually get over it. It seems like a struggle to try to actually achieve self patience and self discipline. The thing is, it isn't about perfecting it. It's just about striving and moving forward instead of focussing on the actual situation itself.

A good friend of mine recently made a wise comment that stuck with me that self-patience and self-discipline work best when practiced together and not seperately.

When we find ourselves in the situations that promote impatience and failing in self-discipline, St. Francis de Sales reminds us to 'have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself'. 

Self patience supports self discipline. They go hand in hand so that whenever we face a frustrating situation, we recognise our mistakes, get back up and move forward. I used to make the mistake of thinking this meant I needed to try to be perfect. However if we aim for perfection, we will always find that the target will move. 

That target intentionally moves as our God reminds us that it requires more self discipline to love ourselves, despite our mistakes, than to punish ourselves for all our faults. 

That same God is so patient with us when we fall and never gives up on us regardless of how deep those mistakes can be.

Whether you're staring at your salad bowl and frustrated that it isn't a donut or in a situation where you may find yourself getting impatient with the traffic on the way to the airport in fear of missing your flight, let's be honest, the struggle is real. Everyone can get frustrated and short with themselves and start singing Shannon Noll's 'What about me?'.

 

So as I sit here finishing off this article, I find myself still being a perfectionist but accepting of the fact that this article will be published a few days later than what I originally intended. What you don't know is that for me, this article was a challenge to practice self-patience and self-discipline on myself. Being a recovering perfectionist, I failed 'The Fox Challenge' I assigned myself many times. However the end product is here. The article will shortly be published. The hope of it being impactful and interesting is still there, though I have no idea if that will be achieved. It's now time for me to work on the next article and project remembering to look up and keep going forward.

 

 

Learn Croatian:

*Kraš Napolitanke - A known Croatian sweet treat where there are layers of thin wafer with a cream filling.