We don’t like to wait. For anything. Not in line, not in traffic, and not even for things we’d like to have in our lives. We believe it’s always better to take action than to wait around for things to happen. But, when does taking action start to hurt you, and waiting start to help?
Have you ever had a vision of something that you wanted really bad? But, instead of getting that thing, you took the first thing that came along resembling it? Maybe you felt your vision was a little far-fetched, maybe it was just going to take too long to get there, but whatever it was, you just didn’t want to wait, so you settled for something that was “good enough” but not great.
Patience is considered too passive for our action-oriented society. But patience is simply the appreciation of the right action at the right time, combined with the understanding that you don’t run the Universe. Your true goals often take time to be realized, but are you abandoning them simply because you don’t want to wait?
What is Patience?
When things are not happening fast enough for you or in the way that you want them to happen, and you try to force them to, that is impatience. So, patience is, first, an acknowledgement that we don’t control everything and we need to be adaptable. And, second, it’s the combination of knowing what action we need to take with the acceptance of external circumstances that we have to work around.
Basically, patience is waiting for the right time to take action and knowing that it might be a slow process.
“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” – Barbara Johnson
Being Patient Has it’s Rewards, Namely, Getting What You Want
We often want to rush things in our lives. What we want to happen is not happening fast enough for us. We fear it might never happen. So we try to control everything around us. And, we try to do it very fast. But when you try to force things, you seem to get further from what you want. You are trying, and trying and not getting anywhere. It’s like being on a treadmill – yes, you’re moving, but you’re still in the same place.
There’s a catch to getting what you want out of life - it doesn’t always happen at the pace you would like it to. But, instead of abandoning your original goal, realize that you may not be prepared for what you want at this time, and there are additional steps necessary in order to reach that thing you want. Take your time with the steps, and know that they are leading you towards what you want.
“He that can have Patience, can have what he will.” - Benjamin Franklin
How to Be More Patient
Being patient has more to do with changing your thoughts than your behavior. Here are some ways to change your thinking so that you can wait patiently.
Feel Strongly About What You Want – In order to be patient you’ve got to keep your goal in mind. The stronger that you feel about the goal the better. Be motivated by the thought that if you can wait long enough you can have exactly what you want in the way that you’ve pictured it.
Remember to Act With What You Have – Patience doesn’t just involve idle waiting, it also involves the right actions. When picturing your goal – even if it seems very far away – ask yourself what you can do now and then do it. Everything you need for your next move you already have, since you can only act with the resources that are around you now. It can’t be any other way.
Realize that there is a Risk Involved – The risk is that you may wait and wait and never actually achieve your goal. You have to accept this as a possibility, while still believing that you will achieve the outcome you desire. This paradox allows you to do what you need to do while distancing yourself from the outcome (which you really don’t control).
Have Confidence in Passive Activity – Though patience is a passive process (you are being acted upon, rather than acting upon something), it is also active in that it has direction and purpose. Patience is not sitting around wondering when great things are going to happen to you. It is knowing when to wait and when to act and why.
Have Faith in Uncertainty- Most of all, patience requires a faith that uncertain times will benefit you. It is to do what you know you can, while not knowing exactly what will happen. Opportunities you never imagined can suddenly appear where you least expect them.