Patience, whether about achieving goals or anything else, is not a popular virtue in the modern world. How valuable is patience today?
A young woman in the UK has just been jailed for 20 years. She wanted to make three million pounds quickly by killing rich people.
As part of her plan, she conducted a trial murder by knifing a kindly neighbour 14 times. I am surprised that she had enough patience to conduct a test murder before moving on to her main targets.
A less exceptional example of impatience can be found in the world of cosmetic surgery where people are ready to suffer the surgeon’s knife to lose fat quickly. They are not prepared for the long haul of eating less and exercising more.
On the internet you are promised that you can learn how to write a book in fourteen days or even seven days. The question of whether such a book would be worth reading is not closely analysed.
However, I think there is a place for such promises because they inspire people to get started and write something. Without such inspiration, many potential authors will never write anything. The writing can always be improved later on.
Some people wait patiently all their lives to achieve a goal and then die before they start! Maybe the idea of patience has been misunderstood in the modern world.
For example, patience has been described as the ability to “sit back and wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension, or frustration.”
This description could describe someone’s experience on a toilet seat! There is no need to sit back and do nothing whether one is in a lavatory or somewhere else. However, action without anxiety, tension and frustration can only be a good thing.
One can work hard and with urgency on any project and still be so detached from the results that anxiety, tension and frustration are avoided.
Patience, then, does not mean sitting around and waiting for good things to happen; it means working hard but calmly and believing that results will eventually show up.
I just came across this quote which fits the above point exactly:
“The way to manifest (create the reality you want) effectively is to use patience and consistent action at the same time.”
Incidentally, before we leave the topic of toilets or washrooms, the average time spent on the toilet over a life time is three years. A lot of reading can be done over three years – the same length of time it takes to achieve a university degree!
Geoff Thompson, the martial arts expert and author, wrote his first book on toilet paper in the washroom at the factory where he worked! He is now a successful author of books, plays and films.
Moving on from the fascinating topic of toilet action, my Taekwondo Instructor once offered a black belt to anyone who asked for it.
No one asked.
They realized the lesson he was trying to teach. If you do not have the patience to train step by step for your black belt over a period of years, you do not deserve to have a black belt and are unlikely to have developed the skills worthy of such an honour.
Most martial arts help their students to reach black belt by allowing them to achieve step by step colour belt grades which break up the goal of achieving black belt into smaller stages. Most people can muster up enough patience to aim for their next belt over a period of two or three months.
Mercifully, the need for patience about goals is also limited in other ways. We do not have to rely patiently on other people to achieve our goals for us. A huge benefit in life is that we can usually make things happen ourselves. We do not have to wait for other people to take action on our behalf. You can train as hard as you like on your own to achieve your black belt. You do not have to rely on a friend to train with you.
We have the wonderful gift of being able to take as much action as we wish in pursuit of our own goals. Nor do we have to depend on certificates to qualify us to achieve our goals. Earl Nightingale said that one hour per day of study could put you at the top of your field within three years
When I watch the current world football cup competition, I have to remind myself that there is nothing I can do to win a match. I did buy English flags for my car but that was the extent of what I could achieve without moving to Germany and buying a ticket!
However, I can support my own goal achieving attempts one hundred per cent. We can work patiently in a stress free way on our own dreams and goals. We don’t have to wait impatiently for others to work for us.
We can be urgent in our efforts and actions but patient about results.
Results take time. A tree does not grow overnight though a weed might well do so! Patience is needed especially when results seem like they will never come.
When we become impatient for results, we make mistakes. A few years ago, I was inspired by a seminar to make money quickly through buying shares. I eventually lost £27,000 pounds to a fraudulent company based in Buenos Aires.
Most road accidents are the result of impatience as people drive too fast or try to jump the traffic lights or overtake at the wrong place. A Chinese proverb sums things up:
“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”
Patience allows us to let go of our need for immediate results and immediate gratification. It allows us to wait long enough for someone to cook a tasty and healthy meal rather than a ready made but unhealthy one.
My brother visits once a week and cooks a great meal. He has the patience to first read the recipe and then buy the correct ingredients and then cook them according to instructions. He is the opposite to me and my dentist who says: “Life is too short for stuffing mushrooms!”
My dentist and I do not appreciate that stuffing mushrooms with healthy ingredients might well prolong life as we start to eat more healthy food. In fact stress, brought on by impatience and the relentless haste of the modern world, is now seen as the biggest danger to health there is. Patience can literally save lives.
Patience is also of enormous value in human relationships. No one likes working or living with an uptight and irritable person. People who show compassion and understanding for those who are less quick on the uptake or who do not know how to behave properly are worth their weight in gold.
A brief moment of impatience can ruin a relationship for years to come. Whenever I have exploded in anger and impatience, little good has come of it even if the anger was fully justified. Irritation can easily lead to long term resentment and even physical confrontation
We also need to have patience with ourselves. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes do not mean the end of our goals and dreams. They can become the stepping stones to achieving our plans as we learn from them.
A whole book rather than just one article could be written about the value of patience but the following points are worth thinking about:
Patience does not mean waiting for things to happen. Urgent, swift action can be combined with patience about results. Patience also allows you to focus on your actions rather the results of your actions. You do not waste time watching the pot to see when it will boil.
If you lack patience, you can buy a black belt or university degree. But such honours mean nothing if you do not have the patience to put in the hours necessary to qualify for them.
It is a waste of time getting impatient about how your national team performs in a competition. There is nothing you can do about it. You can, however, take action on your own goals and projects. In addition, you do not need permission from anyone else to become an expert in the fields that interest you.
Patience can help you eat healthy food and avoid stress and the resulting stress related diseases. It can even save your life.
Patience can improve your relationships. It can help you avoid violent confrontations which could injure or kill you or put you in prison. Develop patience and you will have and retain many friends and even admirers.
The power of patience is not only necessary today. It is of crucial importance and is essential for the achievement of most worthwhile goals.
About the author
John Watson is an award winning teacher and 5th degree blackbelt martial arts instructor. He has written several ebooks on motivation and success topics. These can be found at http://www.motivationtoday.com
You can also find motivational ebooks by authors like Stuart Goldsmith.
Check out http://www.motivationtoday.com/the_midas_method.php
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