Estimated Lesson Time: 6 minutes
Success has been summed up in three words: passion, persistence, and patience. Although many people who pursue success have the passion, and some the persistence, very few possess the virtue of patience. This course is called “Year To Success,” not “24 Hours To Success” or even “30 Days To Success.” Why? Marketing people tell me, in order to sell more books, I should appeal to the desires of instant gratification and create a course that infers success within a much shorter time. However, my goal is not to deceive others; it is to help as many people as possible live more fulfilling lives by achieving success and reaching their full potential. This is only possible with patience. I believe the importance of patience is best summed up by the Dutch, who say, “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.”
Having patience is being capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not being hasty or impulsive. Impatience is just another name for instant gratification, one of the greatest afflictions of humankind. Patience is often said to be a result of having several other virtues and qualities such as tolerance, compassion, understanding, flexibility, and a good sense of humor. Or as Saint Augustine said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
We all know that patience is important in life and is a respectable quality and virtue to possess, so why is it so rare a virtue? The answer is a lack of belief in a favorable outcome. In order to have patience, you must have believe that the result or outcome will be favorable. Without belief in a favorable outcome, feelings of uncertainty and anxiety set in, otherwise known as impatience.
When others ask you to “have patience” or to “be patient,” they are essentially asking you to trust that the outcome or result will be favorable. If you have sufficient reason for this level of trust, then it is good advice. However, if you do not have this level of trust, then you are not being impatient, you simply have the feeling that you are getting nowhere, and you should change your course of action. Patience should never be used as an excuse for continuing to do the wrong thing.
Patience is a state of mind that can allow you to live a more enjoyable and successful life. Or as George-Louis de Buffon said, “Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.” Fortunately, patience can be developed. Here are some suggestions on how you can build an aptitude for patience.
- See the big picture. If you are waiting in line at the department of motor vehicles to get your drivers license renewed, keep in mind that it is something you need to do just once every five years or so. Waiting one hour for the privilege of being able to enjoy the freedom of driving for five years is not a bad deal. Put things in perspective.
- Think long term. Impatience is often the result of myopia, or lack of thinking in the long term. Ask yourself this question, “Will it really matter a year from now if I have to wait an extra [time frame] for [whatever]?” Again, it is about putting the situation in its proper perspective. Once you do this, the anxiety will subside, and you will be practicing patience.
- Refocus your mind on other things. When you are impatient, you are only impatient because of what you are focusing on or thinking about. Be a positive thinker. Do not focus on the fact that you are waiting for something; rather, focus on the positive result for that which you are waiting. I practice this every time I am waiting in an extremely long line at Disney World. The two and a half hour wait for Space Mountain does not bother me when I am focused on the anticipation of the thrill of the roller coaster.
- Seek encouragement. History is full of stories of incredible successes that were a result of patience. Thomas Edison spent years trying to control the electric process that created light. Colonel Sanders spent years trying to sell his chicken recipe. Helen Keller spent many hard years learning to do things that were simple for most others. Seek out those who have practiced patience where you require it most and learn from them.
- Realize that wait adds value to the reward. The old adage that says, “Good things come to those who wait” is a plug for having patience. Success itself is one of the greatest examples of this. Lasting success takes time, therefore, takes patience.
- Avoid comparison. Impatience is often a result of making faulty comparisons. If a peer of yours has reached a level of success that you desire, realize that your circumstances are not the same as your peers. Parents often lose patience with their children because they have heard about their friends’ children who have advanced at a quicker pace. What these parents do not realize is that their own children may be far ahead in other areas—it is unfair to demand the best of everything.
Aristotle once wrote, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” It is not easy to practice patience, but those who do are rewarded in many ways. Patience can be learned like any other skill. Patience should also be practiced like any other skill as well. Learn to recognize the conditions in which trust is warranted and know when to change your actions or sit back and “have patience.” Overnight success dies hard whereas lasting success requires passion, persistence, and patience.
Take Your Year To Success To the Next Level
If you like what you are reading, please consider these options in addition to this course. They include a hardcopy of the book and an intensive course with action steps, assignments, and personal coaching from Bo.
- Buy the Book. Year To Success - Available in hardcover, signed by the author. Also available in ebook, paperback, and audio from Amazon.com.
- Enroll in Bo's Life Mastery Online Course. This is a course that covers hundreds of life-enhancing topics that they never taught in school, but should. This is more than a course on self-improvement; it is a course on mastering life.
Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)