The second patience is the one you and I grapple with. The very same patience that allowed me to write and you to (I hope) read the whole of the last story without feeling the need to go and do something else, or be more productive. Although I forgive you, of course, if you think it was crap. After all, there wasn’t much to it – somewhat like most of our lives (remember the humility virtue – this week’s my week!).
What I’ve noticed in my post-Patience life, is the importance of patience in our every day (please play close attention to the capitalisations).
In my week focusing on patience, I noticed that I continually anticipate other people’s points in conversation. I’m constantly wanting the future here this very minute. I want to have finished my to-do list. I want to be more successful. I want to be back in Africa. It is an entrepreneur’s curse – to see the potential of the future and want it here, now.
What I’ve learned by focusing on patience in the last weeks (notice that this is weeks, not a week – because what’s great about the Franklin guide to self-improvement is that even without the direct focus, there is a positive residue from previous weeks), is that patience is incredibly powerful. If you wait for someone to finish their point without interrupting, you are often able to reply in a more meaningful way. If you leave longer before you sit down to write, you often find that your mind has been working away at your subject matter subconsciously and it’s more perfectly formed when you do sit down.
At the moment I’m writing a proposal for a book and I find myself impatient to get it finished. But the longer I leave it and the more time I give it, the more coherent, crystallised and complete my thoughts. I find that if I’ve given myself time, I can sit down and the structure and words assemble themselves very satisfactorily. If I sit down out of guilt and impatience and try to push the proposal through, I often do more harm than good.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that we all have the luxury of time to only do things when we want to. I’ve been overdosing recently and there must be a balance. All writers (and I certainly wouldn’t categorise myself as one, yet) talk of times where they have to force their work… perspiration rather than inspiration and all that.
Yet I’ve noticed that I continually grab at things when the grabbing is counter-productive. So, with renewed patience and focus, I’m enjoying the process of letting things come to me, rather than running to them and for the time being it’s working and I find myself relaxed, happy and surprisingly productive. Here’s to patience and, of course, wonderful Patience.