“Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”
– Mother Teresa
Study them long enough, and I believe you will find that patience is a common theme amongst the wise and the successful (mind you: one does not guarantee the other). It’s inevitable, actually. Without patience, your best efforts will be all for naught. The right idea at the wrong time is a waste, and all things in life take time. Perhaps the best things in life take the longest: launching a profitable business, building lasting relationships, establishing the income and savings you need to care for those you love… So, what is patience and how do we get there? What makes it worth the while and the waiting?
Patience is simply the ability to endure the passage of time calmly. A patient person is one who can be excited about an idea without being consumed by the anticipation and lashing out impulsively. I strongly believe that patience is at the root of wealth, health, and wisdom. If you want to challenge the notion – and I urge you to challenge everything you read! – then consider the people you know who are the most anxious and impulsive. How often have you watched a friend you care about make another poor choice because they couldn’t stand to wait? Have you ever known someone to give up on something on the verge of success simply because they had run out of the necessary self-discipline?
It’s true of so many good things in life: patience is like chess. Both are reasonably easy to understand but very few people will ever master either. Perhaps the irony here is that mastering patience requires patience. Wrap your head around that if you dare! Maybe it seems unfair, but it’s still very achievable for anyone. Patience, of course, is simply a matter of self-discipline. Like so many beneficial habits, it’s a practice of self-denial and restraint as well as maturity.
The comfort and the caution here is that patience does not mean waiting forever. I say this is a comfort because it means eventually there will be a release to the tension; the caution is that patience doesn’t mean lethargy or inactivity. It’s a difficult ability to develop, but it’s just as important that, after waiting, you are able to identify the precise moment where your patience has paid off. Unfortunately, missing your opportunity can (at times) be as costly as not waiting in the first place.
There’s something else here which I believe is important. As I’ve mentioned, patience does not justify lethargy. Just because the time has not yet struck does not mean you have free license to do nothing. Think of it this way: if opportunity or inspiration finally come to knock and find you un-showered and buried under a stack of pizzas… Well, if I were opportunity, I would move onto the next house.
Be patient but be prepared. Everything in time.
Thank you for your time.