Faster doesn’t necessarily mean better.
In a demanding and competitive world, it is easy to get caught up with the “do it yesterday” mentality. However, when we live at 100 miles per hour, we often miss what is going on in the present.
When we try to do things in a rush, we are usually destined to fail from the start — something I learned from my own mistakes. Faster doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Leo Tolstoy, in “War and Peace,” famously wrote, “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
Patience gives us power to survive and thrive, because conscious practice of patience forces us to be mindful. With patience, we move forward by slowing down.
Let’s explore how being patient makes us stronger at work and in life:
We can learn to be better listeners.
One key trait that helps us get along and succeed at work is our ability to listen carefully. The first step to solving a problem or making progress with people is understanding both the problem and the people you’re working with.
Being a patient listener allows us to absorb the full message, both spoken and unspoken. Being patiently mindful of the speaker’s every gesture, facial expression, and change in tone allows for a fuller understanding of the underlying issues.
Time allows for smarter decisions.
The best ideas seldom come to mind immediately. The longer we take to ponder a problem, the easier our brains may find it to fit everything into place. It is often in the quiet moments when inspiration strikes, and it hardly ever happens when we are desperate to make a decision. An attitude of patience helps us to smooth over those inevitable bumps in the road, and we usually reach the best path in our own time.
Any decision can be made quickly, but the consequences of those choices live for much longer. We live in a world where split-second decisions and decisive actions are constantly encouraged at our workplaces. How much smoother would things be if we all took the time to make the right decision the first time? It is all too easy to be hijacked by pressures and emotions and rushed into a hasty mistake.
Patience gives room for empathy and hope to develop.
You haven’t got time for empathy if you are rushing around like a headless chicken. When we are running on empty, it is natural to be impatient and see the world through our own eyes only. When we make time for others, their perspectives will often have a powerful (and beneficial) effect on our actions.
Delay doesn’t necessarily equate to lack of progress. When we allow ourselves to hope, we cultivate a natural resilience that benefits every area of our lives. Patience is partly about not giving in, but it is also partly about giving things “time” to work out.
We don’t have to change our paths every day in order to find the right one — sometimes it is enough to stay on the path until we achieve our goal. Hope is essential if we are to keep walking. And that takes patience.
When we repeat things, we foster excellence.
Being patient often involves doing similar things until we achieve our desired result. We can’t plant a seed and expect it to flower overnight — we have to water it, clear away the weeds, and keep away the birds. When we have done this once, we know that the process will work a second time.
Patience fosters a habit of excellence that is self-perpetuating, until the waiting itself actually becomes just as enjoyable as the result. Very few achievements come easily, but when we are proficient at practicing patient persistence, we nearly always get there in the end.
Copyright © 2014 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.
I am an entrepreneur and author. Founder of SHADOKA and other companies. Shadoka enables entrepreneurship, growth, and social impact. Author of “Everything Connects — How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and “Survive to Thrive: 27 Practices of Resilient Entrepreneurs, Innovators, and Leaders” (Motivational Press, 2015). Follow me on Twitter @faisal_hoque.