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  1. 1. Patience Unlike in the good old days, patience has taken a severe beating intoday’s fast-paced modern life. A big thanks to fast food restaurants, high-speed elevators, ready-to-eat foods, instant coffee makers, ATMs, quickmoney-making schemes, microwaves, and credit cards among others formaking our lives easier, faster, and better. Even time-consuming researchhas been superseded by our ability to type two or three words into thatextremely helpful search engine: Google (unless you have just gotten off theshuttle from Alpha Centauri, you’re already aware of the product that madeGoogle famous: its Search box. It’s become the card catalog for theInternet). But all these tools that operate for our instant gratification come ata price, of course: patience is tossed out of the window. Today, instantgratification rules the roost. We want quick-fix solutions to problems. We gofor immediate results and have little time to think about the long-termconsequences of our actions. We want to make progress at the speed of abullet train. We want what we want now. However, in our search for short-termpleasure, we are compromising on the quality of the outcome, which usuallytakes some time. Keep in mind that instant quick fixes give only fleetinghappiness. The most meaningful and fulfilling things take discipline,patience, and effort. Today, the need for patience is more relevant than it hasever been. I think we need to learn a lesson or two from our predecessors, whomanaged to have a good time within the limitations of society.Communication, food, information, entertainment, and health care were notinstant during their time, but they showed incredible patience in leadingsatisfying lives that modern mortals seem to lack. Without patience, youcannot lead a happy life, although you may have every luxury at yourdisposal. We are born with a desire for instant gratification because as tiny tots, wewhooped and danced, knowing that our parents would indulge our whimsand desires in no time. This gave us a marvelous feeling. But the moment weleft the toddler phase, we were told to wait on anything and everything. Wenow feel that we have been treated unfairly, and pout endlessly.
  2. 2. Once the parents of Damari and Jordyn (twin brothers) showed them atantalizing box of chocolates, but told them to complete their homeworkbefore they could eat a piece. Damari maintained a patient approach fromstart to finish in doing his homework. He earned brownie points from hisparents and flashed a winning smile. On the other hand, Jordyn lettemptation get the better of him. He could not finish his assigned task andfelt a pang of jealousy at seeing Damari complete his homework. Patience is the ability to (1) Have a relaxed approach toward life. (2) Believe that things will settle down in a matter of time. (3) Wait for change to happen. (4) Keep persisting in the midst of crisis situations. (5) Engage in mature thinking (in the form of accepting the truth), such as “slow and steady” wins the race. (6) Adopt a “wait and watch” approach when things are beyond your grasp. (7) Be confident (in one’s mind) that “success will happen” in the near future. (8) Back yourself to the hilt. (9) Have a good mental perspective about the happenings in life. (10) Think for a few extra moments to make wise decisions. We need to remain patient. Making the right moves should be done atthe right time. If we are not patient, we will quickly rush into something, andthen the entire thing will end up as “irremediable failure.” There’s an oldTaoist metaphor that applies here: If you want a glass of muddy water toclear, leave it alone and let it settle out by itself. If you try to stir it clear, itwill only get cloudier. Conventional wisdom says that it may take a certain
  3. 3. amount of time to develop patience, but it is worth every bit of the process.You simply cannot change yourself into a patient person overnight. We allhave the ability to be patience personified, but it only develops after we facedifficulties of all shapes and sizes. Moreover, it is a difficult task to practicepatience at all times, but those who do, reap ample rewards. This is themoment when the famous story of the tortoise and the hare crosses my mind.As you already know, it is the steady, consistent tortoise that always finishesthe race. The tortoise takes pride in itself because it always practicespatience. As Benjamin Franklin said, “He that can have Patience, can havewhat he will..” The term patience means “slow to get angry.” The Greek word forpatience is makrothumos, where makro means “long or slow” and thumosmeans “anger or wrath.” Patience helps a person to take on disturbances, disgruntlement,suffering without losing equanimity. Patience changes a person completelyinto a self-assured, firm, and balanced being. Patience is a sign of maturity(it involves the ability to live with delayed gratification). St. Augustine wasabsolutely right when he said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom..” Youneed to be patient—when adopting a conciliatory approach to crisissituations, marrying, understanding complex issues, recovering frombreaking up, overcoming physical injuries, becoming a superstar actor,rearing a kid, starting a business, or attempting a breathtakingly difficult task(a daredevil attempt). “Being patient” is equivalent to “being tolerant.” Themore you show patience, the better the chance that you will reachunimaginable heights (personal and/or professional) in your life. Patience and perseverance are mutually complimentary It might take plenty of efforts to undergo the transition from a plumpperson to a waif-like supermodel. It may take several years to write a page-turner. It might take a lot of time to achieve the things on your want list.Keep working hard. Maintain a high level of enthusiasm. Strike gold withyour actions. Successfully complete your mission. Your satisfaction will bebeyond words. Exercising patience is similar to a physical exercise:
  4. 4. (1) It requires day-to-day effort. (2) It throws you out of your comfort zone. (3) It is extremely difficult to start, but eventually it becomes smooth sailing. (4) It is filled with remarkable benefits. Let me give a thumbnail sketch of two prodigiously talented athleteswho set the world on fire: Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods (an American professional golfer) did not gain masteryover his sport overnight. He put in ceaseless effort and displayed enormouspatience to win the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGAChampionship over a period of time. It is no surprise that his marvelousfeats earned him a place in the pantheon of golfers. Lance Armstrong (an American former professional road racingcyclist) won the Tour de France, cycling’s most prestigious race, sevenconsecutive times, from 1999 to 2005. He put blood and sweat intoaccomplishing this splendid achievement. He also owed much of hisamazing feat to his patient perseverance. By dint of this quality, he wasliterally “ahead of the pack..” There was no stopping him as he went on toscale peaks after peaks. One’s patience is tested in the following situations: (1) Traffic jams (2) Long lines (3) Slow downloading speed of the Internet (4) Noise (5) Delayed beginnings (6) Junk mail
  5. 5. (7) Nagging people (8) Excessive advertisements during television programs (9) Stop-start cricket match proceedings (due to rain interruptions) (10) Rolling blackouts Impatience, a.k.a. “hurry sickness,” forms the root of a persistent angry mood, filthy language, and rudeness toward others. A person’s impatience can lead to picayune arguments. A lack of patience may prompt a person to make precipitous (without sufficient thought or preparation) decisions or incorrect assumptions and do the wrong thing, eventually causing him to suffer. Impatient people want success-oriented results without taking action—they want rippling muscles without going to a gym, they want good grades in exams without working hard, they want to wave a magic wand to solve their problems, and they want to pile up materialistic goods by winning the lottery or a casino jackpot. Impatient people take the easy way out and use deception to get what they want. A flower cannot grow before a set period, and a newborn animalcannot protect itself from any type of threatening force(s). By the sametoken, a baby needs to take time and effort when getting ready to performserious actions. This is the usual journey of life. If we want a successfulfinished product, we have to wait for the process to culminate, or else wewill dig our own grave through our impatience. Scientists and psychologists claim that because we are living in thedigital era with iPods and other gizmos that make our lives easier, it is in thenature of things that people have become less patient, poor things! A recentAssociated Press poll indicated that Americans start to feel impatient afterwaiting on hold on the phone for 5 min or in a line for 15 min. Symptoms of impatience: fidgetiness, hyperactivity, and violent behavior. Ill-effects of impatience By showing impatience you
  6. 6. (1) Grumble, rant, and rave.(2) Create a sense of urgency in your mind.(3) Fail to maintain relationships.(4) Are inviting haste to your door.(5) Have the least chance of achieving your goals.(6) Stop enjoying life and start worrying.(7) Are letting yourself be psychologically tortured.(8) Lose out on joyfulness.(9) Attract a multitude of negative responses.(10) Are speeding toward death. When you are impatient, you feel –IrritatedBad-temperedConfusedAnnoyedRestless Statements representing the concept of “impatience”(1) Ugh, I have to expedite my work, and finish it up as soon as possible.(2) I have been with the company one and a half years and still see no rewards to my pocketbook.
  7. 7. (3) I want a stratospheric rise in my career. (4) My goals require lot of painstaking effort to come to fruition. So why squander time on them? (5) Huh, the bumpy rides in my life are making me peeved. Hasty decision—a spin-off of impatience A small, hasty decision is like a little pebble that can ripple out intothe deepest waves in your life. Destruction guaranteed! Remedy: Never make wrong decisions when your chips are down. Donot press the panic button when your mental state is not right. Hang on. Letthings settle down. The winds of change will occur. Chin up! Good timeswill roll again. Patience-building tips To add to your level of patience, practice the following steps: (1) Don’t do things in a rush. Relax. (2) Replace worrying with prayer. (3) Plan each day well in advance so that you have sufficient time to do things. (4) Get into the habit of thinking about pithy one-liners on “patience..” How about observing the following quotations: (i ) If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow – Chinese Proverb (i i ) If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent – Isaac Newton
  8. 8. (iii) The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it – Arnold H. Glasgow(5) Do some homework for the situations that test your patience. Meaty feats are created with one’s patience Shakespeare was a great example of patience. Owing to hisextraordinary patience, he managed to author 36 plays, 154 sonnets, and5 poems. Truly, a high-octane genius! Colonel Sanders failed 1,000 times in his attempt to sell his chickenrecipe. Yet his enthusiasm never diminished by those setbacks. He wasalways working at it, knowing very well that it was just a question oftime before his patience and persistence paid off. It really did pay off in abig way. Long live one’s patience! Patience—An essential element of success Kendall and Jasper were close friends. Both completed theirundergraduate degrees in computer engineering and landed in Canada tosearch for a software job (Canadians like to think of their country as amosaic rather than a melting pot). After 3 months of intense job hunting,Kendall got into an international software development company namedParetoLogic Corporation. Jasper too got into a privately held Canadiansoftware company named Waterloo Maple. This was a launch pad for hiscareer. Kendall was always the more patient laid-back type, whereasJasper was on the hyper side—always wanting to get something donefast, showing little patience, and always seeking to rise in the peckingorder in a blinding flash. After a year on the job, Jasper quit, assumingthat the grass was greener on the other side. Thus, within a span of 2years, he had changed 4 companies (Goodness me!), namely, DataMirrorCorporation, Cognos, Creo, and Adventus. His impatience had actuallyworked against him. Remember, “A rolling stone gathers no moss..” Kendall, on the other hand, is still with the same company and isgoing great guns. He enjoys the working environment, and is a vital cogin the wheel of his company. His patience has paid off beyond his wildest
  9. 9. dreams. He enjoys a package of 5 weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, fullmedical and dental benefits, a company matching retirement fund to 50%of his salary, and a company car leased every 2 years. Patience doesn’t mean sitting around and waiting. Do your work,do the best you can, and reap the benefits when the time is right. If youwant a promotion, consistently give top-notch performances and waitpatiently for things to come your way. How does impatience go against you? In our conversation, we use this phrase most of the time (relating to instant gratification): “Everything should happen now..” Little do we know how much damage this idea is causing to our lives. Illustration: Wyatt wanted to quadruple his earnings by hook or bycrook within 10 months. To do this, what did he do? He frittered awayhis money, buying hot stocks and lottery tickets, gambling, and tryingdifferent quick money-making schemes (chain letter scams, Ponzischemes), but what was the end result? He got his fingers burned as stockprices took a nosedive, resulting in huge financial losses. It should beunderstood that the building up of finances is a step-by-step process. Onecannot bypass the laws of nature and become Richie Rich overnight. Onehas to sweat it out and work one’s way up the rungs of the ladder, andonly then will things click in life. Ever since the news broke that Bernard Madoff had bilked hisinvestors in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, Washington lawmakers havebeen demanding answers from Wall Street’s guardians. How could theyhave missed the biggest con in history? After all, one reason Congresscreated the Securities and Exchange Commission in the 1930s was toprotect investors. Patience is worth the wait A special bamboo tree grows in China. The growth process is asfollows: The seed is planted, watered, and fertilized, but in the first yearno growth happens. The Chinese work assiduously and water andfertilize it, but still nothing emerges out of the ground (in the second yeartoo). Success doesn’t come at the push of a button, and the Chinese know
  10. 10. this very well. They do not lose heart, but stay patient and go the whole hog. Yet, the same old story repeats in the third and fourth years too. However, all of a sudden, during the course of the fifth year, in a short span of about six weeks, this same bamboo tree bursts onto the scene from out of nowhere to reach a height of approximately 90 feet. Had the Chinese quit prematurely, the bamboo tree wouldn’t have been a possibility. It would have remained a mere mirage. Ultimately, patience and perseverance won. They always do. Take it from me. As Aristotle once wrote, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” A laughable paradoxDear God,I pray for patience.And I want it RIGHT NOW! - Oren Arnold What patience does not mean (1) Patience does not mean waiting for a limitless time. (2) Patience does not mean letting things happen to us. (3) Patience does not mean stomaching hard knocks and quagmires without doing anything. (4) Being patient doesn’t mean remaining idle. (5) Patience does not mean agreeing to end results that are less than satisfying. Patience is power The termites of Zambia are remarkable creatures. They do not get through their work at the rate of knots but patiently construct an
  11. 11. anthill that is twenty feet tall and fifty feet in diameter (takingoceans of time in the process). Surely, anybody can be impressedby the intensity of their unremitting labors. The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BC) wrote, “If you should puteven a little on a little and should do this often, soon this wouldbecome big..” Working on patience—A general solutionMake a list of people and/or situations that have tested yourpatience. Was it your teacher who rebuked you for coming late toclass? Was it your friend who promised you to be present at 7, but arrived 3 hours late (due to rush-hour traffic)? Was ityour father who chided you for getting B grade? Was it your sisterin the worst of her moods? Was it a last-minute change in yourflight schedule? Was it the inclement weather, like the billowystorm clouds, which made you scrub your plans for shopping?Write down your reaction to each of the above situations. Askyourself, “In this situation, how can I show more patience?” Prayfor God’s strength to help you be more patient in trying situations. PatienceThings in life are not always right for meThere are difficulties along the wayThey act as traffic policemenCutting off my progressBringing my journey to an abrupt halt.Not bothering too much, I wait, keep my cool and understand thesituationKnowing completely, one day, things will improve and get betterIt is just biding the time and waiting patientlyThat is the need of the hour.Patience, for me, is never a problemAs the importance of it was dinged into my head
  12. 12. Right from my childhood days Thanks a million, Mom and Dad, for imbuing Many good qualities in me. - Self-written poem Life is not always a happy, fairy-tale journey. From out of the blue you will be hit by a blizzard of difficulties. Give pep talks to yourself. Act as a shock absorber to withstand the trying moments. Through the quality of patience, we give ourselves the advantage of remaining imperturbable. In addition, it helps in uplifting our mood. As Adel Bestavros puts it, “Patience with others is Love. Patience with self is Hope. Patience with God is Faith..” Passing remark: Note that beautiful symphonies, works of art, andliterary masterpieces were not created in a day. Ditto, Rome wasn’t built in aday! Now, you folks have got a clear picture of how things are doable in lifewith “patience..”