I believe that, given the opportunity, some of us would even trade all of our earthly possessions for a lifelong supply of this magical substance. It is the one thing that can secure us so much happiness, inner peace and long-term fulfillment.
Have you guessed what this ‘eighth wonder of the world’ is? Well, it is the virtue of patience, of course! The Dutch say that “a handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains”. There is no doubt in my mind that should some genius be able to develop a magical formula to capture patience in a bottle, that person would overnight become the wealthiest and most famous person on the planet!
The patent holder for patience will not only rule the world, but will also put many of us out of work. The global service industry, for one, will experience a major downturn in customer demand. With so many suddenly patient souls on the planet, there will be less need for some of the jobs that typically deal with the impulsive, hot-headed and intolerant side of human nature. If everyone could take a pill to become instantly longsuffering, many professionals would have to be made redundant, including Customer Complaints Managers, Divorce Lawyers, Emergency Room Nurses, Traffic Officers and, of course, Psychic Advisors.
disappear and obstacles vanish ~ John Quincy Adams
The newly founded ‘Patience Company’ will no doubt become the most powerful corporation in the world. They would probably expand their range very quickly, to include tempting product variations like Patient Persistence, Peaceful Perseverance and Powerfully Present. These life changing potions will permanently alter our reality as we know it. It will in time deliver to us much of the joy and fulfillment so many of us desire.
Imagine the possibilities of having no more ‘road rage’ along your life path. There will be less broken relationships, less bad decisions, less spoilt chances…no more arguments, regrets, misunderstandings, impulsive assumptions, reckless behavior or jumping to ridiculous conclusions. No more sleepless nights. With true patience we will find it so easy to peacefully wait our turn; we will be content to give the cycles of life the benefit of the doubt.
Over the years, I have seen how a lack of patience, uncontrolled emotions and rash actions can crush dreams, destroy lives and wreak havoc in relationships. It does not surprise me that patience features as one of the most valued virtues in many religions, including Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Buddhism regards it as one of the perfections that must be achieved on the path to Enlightenment.
I constantly advise clients to remain calm, be patient and allow the future to unfold in its own time. To very little avail. Those who do heed my advice always reap the rewards in the end. But they are few and far between. Many simply cannot conquer the urge to act before the time is right; they find it hard to contain their emotions – be it anger, anxiety, desire or desperation. They do not see that patience is sometimes the best form of action. If only they would accept that the human ego is fueled by fear and petulant self-interest, and realize that when the ego takes over in any situation you are bound to get way ahead of yourself, and it will usually lead you to make a royal mess of things.
of impatience may ruin a whole life ~ Chinese Proverb
Patience is the antidote to the restless poison of the ego. Without it we all become ego-maniacal bulls in china shops, destroying our future happiness, as we blindly rush in where angels fear to tread. In these out-of-control moments, we bulldoze through the best possible outcomes for our lives, within a matter of minutes, only to return to the scene of the crime later… to cry over spilt milk. Then the process of picking up the pieces begins, trying in vain to salvage what may be left of the opportunities and future prospects we have now annihilated. More often than not the damage simply cannot be undone. How many times have I heard the sad words: “If only I had listened to your advice, if only I waited a little longer?”
Our lack of patience comes from our fear of the unknown, and our intolerance of uncertainty. We are reluctant to accept that nothing is ever certain or secure in our human experience. The only security we really do have in this lifetime is the knowledge that there is absolutely no certainty. There is no such thing as a ‘sure thing’ when it comes to the human condition, except for the fact that this lifetime will eventually come to an end for all of us. Sir Francis Bacon said that “if we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and we are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.”
Our increasingly fast-paced society and constant technological advancement also does not serve us well in the patience department. We like to call it ‘efficiency’ and ‘progress’, but how are we supposed to teach our children the virtue of patience, when they live in a world where just about everything is easily accessible, and often instantly available? All it takes is one swipe of a credit card, or the click of a mouse button. No wonder we have so little forbearance, and zero perseverance.
frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young? ~ Paul Sweeney
Some of us have become so ridiculously impatient that we cannot even wait for the world to end in its own good time. Oh no, some of us demand an immediate apocalypse, be it this year or the next. And for those who are privileged to be chosen to survive there must be an instant DNA upgrade included in the deal…non-negotiable! Immediate gratification is what we have come to expect and demand.
Meanwhile Planet Earth revolves around her axis unperturbed and Mother Nature patiently goes about her daily business, as she always has, doing her utmost to heal the damage and destruction we leave in our wake. She will continue to see us come and go, untroubled by our petty human dramas, whilst the Universe will continue to leisurely work in its many mysterious ways.
I deal with the aftermath of impatience almost every day in the work that I do, and I can assure you that there truly is wisdom in having some patience and fortitude. There is freedom to be found in letting go of our rigid, premature expectations. If only we could stop jumping up an down, and not try to drive square pegs into round holes. If only we could refrain from peeking at the cards of others, before they lay them out on the table, or quit tampering with the unripe fruit of our destiny. If only we could relinquishing our unyielding ideas of how things must be, and how quickly they must come to pass. If we could just cut loose and surrender to the boundless possibilities that await us. If we could just kick our heels up and run spontaneously wild with the mysteries of life. If only we had a some patience in a bottle….how smooth the ride would be!