Some of us are the action type; we like to do things now; we don’t like to wait. Others gladly put things off as long as they can. There is a happy balance, though, a time to be patient and a time to act.
We live in an age where every minute counts. We have cell phones that provide instantaneous communication. We tightly schedule every day of the week. Waiting two minutes for our computer to boot up may seem like an eternity.
Patience stands in stark contrast to what modern life expects of us. Hurry, hurry seems to be more in line with modern life. Yet patience is considered one of the great virtues. It is a tough virtue to master, though, especially today.
What is patience?
To be patient means to endure something without complaining, such as getting over the flu. How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees, as Shakespeare wrote. Impatience accomplishes nothing. It often causes more harm than good. It is far better to take life with equanimity and patience, admonished Carl Jung, the great psychologist.
It may mean waiting for the right time. There’s a time for everything. You may be eager to ask for a raise, but ask yourself first, “Can I point to my improved skills? Have I contributed in some way to our department’s smooth functioning?” Don’t pick a day when your boss has other worries.
Why practice patience?
Because patience builds character. Not overnight, but over time. As an old proverb says, Rome was not built in a day. Character makes a person stand out. The patience that built your character ensures that you can control your temper and successfully cope with adversity. It is a measure of your maturity.
A bit of patience is a great companion to guide us through life. It will guard us from a host of ills, such as headaches, tension, stress, indigestion, and annoyance, all caused by impatience. None of these will ever contribute to our success, health, or happiness.
In Lao Tzu’s words, I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience and compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.