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Leadership Thought #363 – Patience Can Be a Good Thing

June 1, 2012

Free Young bearded man wearing black outfit standing in street of old town Stock Photo

I would have to say that I tend to be an impatient person, but I am always working on improving in this area.  I am sure not everyone who knows me would argue with this point.  I prefer acting to waiting.  Once I make up my mind about something, I just want to move forward and make progress.  In addition, I get frustrated with others who don’t operate with the same sense of urgency that I do.  It boggles my mind how slow and uninspired many people seem.  However, with time and some maturity, I have begun to realize that the problem isn’t always them and sometimes it’s me.

If everything is important then nothing truly is.  If you go about your life with too much intensity all the time, it gets a bit exhausting for you and those people around you.  Sometimes you must wait in a checkout line.  A few extra minutes of being patient won’t kill you. In addition, most deadlines are self-imposed and if you are a “Type A” person, you are putting yourself under too much unnecessary pressure.  You can see this stress manifest itself physically with people as their agitation grows.  I wonder how many heart attacks were triggered by minor incidents that were blown out of proportion.

I’ve always liked the whole “Yin and Yang” concept and the principle of duality. There are two polar opposites to everything and a vast continuum that operates in between them.  Whether you apply this as an individual to your own behavior or in your interactions with others, it can be a useful tool.  Overly aggressive people need to be balanced out by those who are more passive.  They also need to find the downshift gear in their own actions while others may need to learn to up-shift a bit more.  There is a time to be patient and a time to be impatient.  The key is balancing it all.  I have come to believe that when I interact with someone who is overly frustrating me; it is really meant as a learning opportunity if I am wise enough to seize it.

Life comes down to context and perspective.  We are all trying to figure these two things out on a regular basis and constantly bumping into each other in the process.   While our experience is subjective, we need to maintain some level of objectivity to make sense of it all.  The world doesn’t revolve around you; it just feels that way.  Impatient people are that way for a reason, but that doesn’t mean others will share this sense of urgency or should do so.  The key is finding common ground and constantly striving for win-win interactions that respect our individual differences.

You can and should forge ahead confidently and aggressively in pursuit of your dreams/goals/objectives.  Just be prepared to meet some resistance along the way.  Pick your battles carefully when this happens.  Not every fight is worth fighting.  Sometimes the universe is speaking to you and slowing you down on purpose.  Too much momentum could take you off a cliff.  Your default position cannot always be assertive action.  Maybe you need to step back, better understand the dynamics of a situation, think it through and tread more thoughtfully.  It could be that you just need to stop, take a deep breath, and give yourself a minute to reflect, reconsider and alter your course of action.