For most of my life, patience has been a monumentally aggravating virtue. I like to make things happen. I like to dream it, do it, and then move on to the next thing. I work hard at projects, and pursue them with determination, persistence, and as much creativity as I can muster. And then I like to see my efforts come together and work, producing the fruit of achievement. I bask in the warm glow of a job well done and go looking for the next one.
When I get excited about an idea or a project, I become a curator of great energy. It seems to come to me from all directions, get inside me, and demand to be used. I surf on it, run with it, and even fly because of it. Then, occasionally, things don't go as expected. Not right away, at least. And sometimes, not even considerably after the "right away" phase has long gone. What's this? The world is not responding to my bright idea and hard work? I'm being made to WAIT?
Patience has a very different energy signature from striving and working hard. For most of my life, I had no real conception of how to make them go together. I was always pushing, running down hallways, making call after call, with almost a frantic pace that finds youth to be such fertile soil. But as I've gotten older, I've come to a bit more of an understanding of patience.
The world is an infinitely complex buzzing web of intersecting interests, energies, and events. It's hard to fit a new idea, or invention, or discovery, into the speeding traffic of what's already on the highway. You sometimes have to sit on the on ramp and patiently wait until the time is right. Then you can safely merge into the stream of ongoing things that are whizzing by.
Impatience doesn't want to wait - ever. But waiting can be just as important an activity as doing. A great baseball player doesn't step up to the plate and let impatience goad him into swinging hard before the pitcher even throws the ball. That would be crazy. And if he even swings a moment too soon, he can miss the opportunity and the ball. Patience is all about acting when the time is right. It's about waiting until the proper moment arrives. It involves the ability to be at peace and give the world time to get ready for your great new idea or project. It's most of all an attitude. And it's powerful.
Impatience is all about ego and that spoiled child inside that wants its way now. Its companions are frustration, irritation, and anger. Patience is a form of inner peace. It's about wisdom. Its companions are serenity and assurance, a confidence that doesn't require immediacy. It isn't in a hurry. It understands that great things take time.
I always wanted to have a better understanding of patience. But I had to wait a long time to get it. It was worth the wait. And most things of value are.