"Patience is a virtue." Almost Everyone's Mother.
Why is patience a virtue, or strength? Well, let's think about what an impatient person does. He or she feels an inner tension, a stress, perhaps even a form of anxiety. He's agitated. She's frustrated. And often filled with questions: When? Why is it taking so long? How can I speed this up? What do I have to do to get this pot to boil, this person to answer me, this opportunity to gel, or to get this problem fixed? What? How? Why? When?
Meanwhile, the patient person is at peace. She's going with the flow. He's content with the pace of things, while still perhaps ambitious, and he's quietly confident in the future.
And these characteristics of patience are all good and desirable things, right?
So why is it so hard to be patient, and so easy to be the opposite?
And there's also a deeper question in the neighborhood, isn't there?
Maybe what I characterized above as the opposite of patience is really just one version, a subjective, boiling pot of emotions that creates nothing but inner pressure and discontent. Isn't there another cluster of responses available for the person who isn't just fine to wait? I have in mind, action, persistence, determination, creativity, and more action. And aren't those all good things, as well?
So here's the real question. When is it best to take action, or more action, in pursuit of your desires or dreams, and when is it best to wait patiently? It's never best to just stew with frustration. We can all agree to that. But when is patient waiting perhaps just not the thing you need, but action instead to create the near term future that you want.
The easy answer from 40,000 feet is that there's no general answer at all, except that knowing when to be patient and when to act requires wisdom, or genuine discernment. And that answer, while true, gives us no help here on the ground, day to day. Is there a better answer available?
Tune in tomorrow.
Yeah, be patient.