The Importance of Patience
“Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” ― Moliere
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” ― Benjamin Franklin
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”― Aristotle
“Patience is a conquering virtue.”― Geoffrey Chaucer
“Patience Is Not the Ability to Wait: Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.” ― Roy T. Bennett
“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”― Leo Tolstoy
“This is one more piece of advice I have for you: don’t get impatient. Even if things are so tangled up you can’t do anything, don’t get desperate or blow a fuse and start yanking on one particular thread before it’s ready to come undone. You have to realize it’s going to be a long process and that you’ll work on things slowly, one at a time.”― Haruki Murakami
Courtesy of goodreads.com
The virtue of patience is a very difficult topic and subject for the majority of human beings. I also constantly struggle to achieve this virtue. Instant gratification is the norm of the day.
The key driver of all the greatest achievements of mankind have been fueled by the virtues of patience and persistence. No worthy achievement by name has come without the necessary patience and drive to make it happen.
Unfortunately, in this day and age we want our needs and wants to be fulfilled instantly and prefer taking short cuts rather than taking the right route to obtain our needs and wants.
This has reached epidemic proportions in current society. It is fueled by social media and peer comparison across the board. Without cultivating the virtue of patience, we suffer as individuals, communities and nations.
The lack of patience fuels corruption, greed and other vices in society. It results in shoddy goods, services and a breakdown in civil order.
Description courtesy of Dictionary.com
noun: the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay:to have patience with a slow learner.
quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence:
to work with patience.
Experiments have shown time and again, that those who deny themselves instant gratification are better off in the long run. They are willing to sacrifice short term gains for better outcomes in the future.
The famous ‘ Marshmallow Test’ courtesy of thoughtco.com conducted by a psychologist by the name of Walter Mischel revealed the correlation between positive outcomes and the ability to delay gratification. Courtesy of thoughtco.com
In this famous study conducted on a sample of children the children who delayed gratification had better positive outcomes in their future. Patience and its ability to affect positive outcomes is a reality we should embrace.
The greatest example in nature are trees. Their growth trajectory from tiny seedlings to the great trees that provide shade and other benefits takes at least 5 to 15 years depending on the species of the tree.
It is a study in patience to watch this growth but the benefits of trees and forests are invaluable to the planet.
Attaining the prerequisite skills and becoming an expert in any field takes time. Those who are willing to take the time to master their specific subject areas are those who win in the long run.
Beware of the Tortoise that takes time to master its skills. Those are the individuals who usually thrive in the long term. Their expertise shines and comes out brightly sooner or later.
The experts in any field usually take 10,000 hours or more mastering their craft. This is what it takes to become the guru in any field. Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ shows that it’s actually patience and perspiration that matter in life more than innate talent.
Great Buildings, Engineering and Scientific Works
The Taj Mahal- India
This iconic structure situated in Agra India is one of the modern wonders of the world. Work on this project was commissioned in 1632 and it was completed in 1653.
It took 21 years for this project to be completed but has given the world a joy to behold for the last 369 years.
Eiffel Tower – France
This iron structure was built in France from the year 1887 to 1889. It took 2 years to complete but is a cultural landmark and tourist attraction.
It has fascinated human kind over the last 133 years. This is the power of patience to complete a great project
The Great Wall of China
The famous Great Wall of China’s construction can be traced as early as the 7th Century BC and works were continuous till the 17th Century AD. This wall was constructed to boost the defenses of the Chinese Empire against external attacks. It continues to fascinate us till this day.
The Internal Combustion Engine
Most of humanity’s progress in the 20th and 21st Century has been pegged on the internal combustion engine. It enabled mobility and massive boosts to industrial production across the board.
The invention of the engine commenced in 1791 and was finally perfected in the year 1879. It took almost 100 years to create the current engines that propel our cars. That’s the power of patience and persistence at work
Tiger Woods is one of the most famous golfers in the history of the game. He was the first African American to win the most titles in the sport. He was born in Dec 30th 1975. He started playing golf at the age of 3 and his talent was nurtured continuously from then on with no break.
He started breaking national records at the age of 15 years. He won his first major at the age of 21 and broke the record as the youngest major winner ever. If you track his career path it’s evident he was patient all along nurturing his talent until he became one of the most dominant players ever in the sport.
Michael Schumacher is one of the most famous Formula One drivers in history. He was born in January 1969 and begun driving Karts at the age of 4 years. His talent was visible and he won many Kart events. This was capped by him winning the national German Junior Kart racing event at the age of 13 years.
He then graduated to Formula 3 at the age of 20 years. He won back to back titles and was elevated to Formula One in 1991. There he produced magic and won 7 Formula One Titles only eclipsed by Lewis Hamilton. The power of patience delivered. The early foundation years and sticking to the sport paid off for Michael Schumacher.
The best martial artists realize patience is a must have tool in their arsenal. In his seminal book ‘Mastery’ by George Leonard, he narrated a story on how he tried to skip one level in the belt grading system. He was a brown belt and wanted to take a shortcut to become a blackbelt.
For his efforts he sustained a broken arm in a match up with a black belt maestro. He had to humble himself and go back to the fundamentals of brown belt training until he mastered the grade to rise to the level of blackbelt training.
Animals: The hunt/stalking
Lions, the big cats and the domestic cats
The epitome of patience is displayed by animals. The most enigmatic and captivating scenes are watching the big cats, domestic cats, stalk and kill prey. They display the outmost patience as they get close to their prey.
Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Panthers, Jaguars, Cheetahs, domestic cats first have to ensure they are close enough to their prey before they spring the trap. Watching them creep up close to their prey is fascinating. They ensure the outmost silence and patience.
Usually the victim is always unaware about the predator’s presence. That’s how good they are at stalking prey. They don’t let anything distract them in their hunt. This is the game of patience at it’s best.
Snakes are one of the most feared and loathed animal species in the planet. It’s with good measure as they are also one of the most feared predators in the planet. They also use a mechanism of ambushing and stalking their prey.
A snake can wait for two weeks and even up to a month waiting for suitable prey to come by it’s lair. It can track prey using smell and will wait along the path for the prey to come by. They are very patient and spring their trap.
They usually succeed in their endeavors due to displaying enduring patience to achieve their objectives.
Spiders are also a fascinating species of animals. They deploy the principle of patience in their own unique manner. They spin a silky web and wait to capture their prey. This web has sticky surfaces that capture the prey and ensure it cannot get out of the trap.
Spiders just spin the web and wait patiently for prey to either fly or crawl into the web. Once the victim is captured it’s eaten at the leisure of the spider. This technique is employed by hunters who lay snares and traps. They wait patiently at the side as the victim falls into a trap.
Great Businesses and Investors
Ray Kroc is one of the best business men the world has ever had. He is the brains behind the McDonald’s chain brand that is internationally known for it’s fries and hamburgers. Ray Kroc was born in October 1902 and passed away in January 1984 at the age of 81 years.
He introduced food preparation and customer service standards that were unequalled in that day and era. From the first store in circa 1953 he went on to expand the franchise to over 7500 outlets in America and over 31 countries internationally.
His business acumen and patience were displayed over the entire span of his life. He had the patience and vision to see the McDonald franchise chain grow to that size.
Sam Walton was born in March 1918 and passed away in April 1992 aged 74 years. He was the founder of the internationally reknown Walmart chain of hypermarkets and supermarket stores. He briefly worked in a JC Penney store in 1943 for 18 months.
He decided to open his own store in 1945 by using savings and a loan from his father in law. This was at the age of 26 he introduced concepts in the Retail chain such as low prices and more variety for customers.
He started expanding after 1954 after having run 2 store outlets successfully for some time. He realized the only way to grow was to expand in other locations. By the year 1985 he had 800 store locations. By the time of his death in 1992 the chain had 1960 stores.
Those first 9 years of his operations laid the foundation for his success later on.
Warren Buffet is one of the most famous investors in the world. He was born in August 1930 and still continues to invest to this day. He started his investing career early. His father owned a stock brokerage firm and he visited the New York Stock Exchange at the age of 10.
At age 11 he bought his first 3 shares. Then he went onto carry out other entrepreneurial ventures till the age of 22. He owned a farm but his father forced him to join college in 1947 and he met his mentor Benjamin Franklin in 1951 at Columbus University where he graduated with a Masters degree in Economics.
This entrepreneurial and investment background enabled him to propel himself in the investment industry. He first worked for his father for 3 years and then worked with Benjamin Franklin till 1969 in a partnership. He set up his own firm in 1970. The rest is history by 2008 he was worth 58 billion dollars.
His early career showed the value of patience and working steadily towards his goals consistently.
Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most famous painters that ever lived he was born in March 1853 and died in July 1890 at the young age of 37 years. His interest in art began at an early age and his mother nurtured his talent. His father and grandfather were also famous art dealers so he got exposed to Artistic pieces early in life.
He had an apprenticeship as an art dealer from the year 1869 to 1873. He even became more successful than his own father. His most productive and prolific period was from the year 1880 to 1890 before he passed away. He painted 2100 pieces of art. In between he had also attended art school and apprenticed with other famous painters.
His life long interest in art shows the patience and persistence required to reach the pinnacle in any career.
Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci is considered one of the most gifted individuals to have ever lived. He displayed his talent in both the scientific and artistic fields. He was an Italian born in April 1452 and passed away in May 1519.
He was born out of wedlock to a famous notary in Florence. He was given an early education in art as his family realized this was his main strength. His apprenticeship begun at the age of 14 and continued until the age of 24 years. He was exposed to a range of technical skills and artistic skills during this period.
He produced two great works of painting. The ‘Mona Lisa ‘and ‘The Last Supper’ during his career and some other scientific drawings and works. These works are still revered by the modern world to this day and age.
The virtue of patience was once again in display during his apprenticeship years that produced the finished individual Leonardo who always kept improving his talent.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Mozart was born in the year January 1756 and passed away in the year Dec 1791 at the young age of 35 years. He was an Austrian born in the town of Salzburg. He is considered one of the greatest classical composers of all time.
His father Leopold Mozart was a minor composer who was fluent with the Violin. Wolfgang’s interest in music was ignited at the young age of 4 years by the age of 5 years he was already composing pieces of music. From 1762 to 1773 Mozart and his elder sister Nannerl were performing in many Royal Courts as child prodigies.
Mozart had the chance to meet many composers and musicians at a young age he composed his first symphony at the age of 8. After the year 1773 he was employed in the Salzburg Royal Court for 4 years before he branched out on his own till his death in 1791. He composed over 600 musical compositions that are celebrated to this day.
The patience and tutelage during his formative years produced a genius who enriched the music world and artistic space up to this day.
Albert Einstein the great German born scientist was born in March 1879 and passed away in April 1955 at the age of 76 years. He is considered one of the greatest physicists of all time. His early childhood was influenced by his father and uncle who were electrical engineers.
His talent was recognized at an early age. He was great at both Maths and Physics. He had already mastered Calculus by the age of 14 years old. From 1895 to 1900 he was enrolled in college and got a diploma in physics.
His best year was in 1905 where he came up with 4 theories that revolutionized the scientific world. He published four great works on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity and the equivalence of mass and energy. This was at the age of 26.
His later years were spent refining these theories and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. He emigrated to the USA in 1933 after the Nazis took power in Germany. He published more than 300 scientific papers and 150 non-scientific papers in his career.
The virtue of patience and its rewards were clearly illuminated in his career path.
Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia in July 1856 and passed away in January 1943 aged 86. He is considered one of the greatest scientists that ever lived. His early childhood in Serbia showed he had great talent in Maths and Physics.
He showed his talent in high school by his innate knowledge of integral calculus. He completed a 4-year course in 3 years.
He then went on for higher education in 1875 he spent 3 years studying in a technical college but never completed his degree course. His real apprenticeship begun when he started working in the Budapest Telephone Exchange and the Edison Company in Paris.
Here he gained practical experience in electrical engineering troubleshooting electrical faults and the emerging lighting industry. After this stint due to his promise he was transferred to the parent Edison company in America where he only worked for 6 months.
After his working stint he set up the Tesla Electric Company that produced a key patent the Alternating Current (AC) induction motor. This patent gave him fame and fortune. He went on to produce over 300 patents in the electrical engineering field.
His patience in the lab still impacts human life positively today.
Louis Pasteur was a French Chemist and Microbiologist who made significant discoveries in the area of Public Health. He was born in December 1822 and died in September 1895. His key breakthroughs were in the fields of vaccination, formulating the germ theory of diseases, microbial fermentation and his key invention pasteurization.
He had a slow start in childhood and struggled with his education getting mediocre grades. He was patient and actually repeated exams to get to the elite French College Ecole Normale Supérieure. Here he specialized in Chemistry and Physics.
His real career begun in 1848 when he joined the University of Strasbourg, he later went back to the Ecole Normale Supérieure and later founded his own institute the Pasteur Institute in 1887 till his career ended.
His patience and astute observation gave us works that have helped humanity reduce disease and benefitted us immensely over time. That’s the impact of his career.
Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long Term Fulfillment – George Leonard
Mastery – Robert Greene
Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s – Ray Kroc with Robert Anderson
Sam Walton: Made in America My Story- Sam Walton with John Huey
Outliers: The Story of Success – Malcolm Gladwell