Patience: noun. / the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
/ the ability to wait, or to continue doing something despite difficulties, or to suffer without complaining or becoming annoyed.
It doesn’t come naturally to me.
When I was much younger, I was very impatient… and extremely quick tempered. Lots of unfocused, rebellious rage.It took a lot of effort, and a long time observing, learning, modelling others for me to learn about patience.
One of the earliest lessons I learnt about it was from observing my older sis, when we were still young.
She was always calm and patient. Even when I was raging, throwing and breaking things, letting my frustrations and anger took over, she would just be patient. Somehow while I was raging unconsciously I was observing and wondering why and how she did that. I started to try model after her. (Aka. be more like her.) It was the genesis. And I think it changed the trajectory of my life. That type of patience impacts happiness.
Then I learned a different, equally as important, aspect of patience from competitive sports and martial art principles. Patience is a critical ingredient for mastery. And mastery is a critical ingredient for success.
So simplified: Patience => mastery => success
In sports and martial arts, we had to do drills – doing the same action repeatedly, thousands of times… not only to ingrain muscle memory, but to learn nuances, gain insights and more in-depth applications from the same movements. And it can take months, even years to just shave off a few seconds or to apply a basic move in a different way.
So patience is ingrained “automatically”, to a certain extent.
You probably have read about Bruce Lee’s quote: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” There are multiple lessons in that quote. Among other points, it’s about being focused.
It’s about deliberate practice. It’s about the fundamentals. It’s about mastery. It’s about patience. I learned that: “Patience and fortitude conquer all.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“He that can have patience can have what he will.”
— Benjamin Franklin
“Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge.” — Robert Greene
A man who can master patience, can master everything else.
One type of patience impacts happiness. Another type impacts success. It makes sense to develop more patience. And like most things, it’s a skill that can be learned, honed and mastered. I’m still learning.
Lots of times I’d go “I / we could’ve done it faster… why are we not achieving that yet?” I’m very familiar with that feeling. And I constantly remind myself to shift my focus.
To be clear: Patience is not about just accepting, tolerating, settling, placating… being helpless, letting things play out by themselves. That’s not patience. That’s giving up. If you read the definition of the word again above, you’ll know it’s about the ability to wait (for results), while continuing to do the work (that might be difficult), without complain or getting annoyed.
Patience is about doing everything in your power to improve and get a positive outcome…
And be willing to continue doing it for extended period of time, even when it’s challenging and hard, And even when the results only come much, much, much later.
Patience is a “hidden” super power.