Like many other traits losing grip in today’s society, patience is not something to be underestimated. Especially in a time where everything needs to go fast, efficient and to the point, it’s losing a lot of attention. People get interested in something and they want to exhaust it as much as they can in the shortest time avaiable. After some time they will lose their interest and move on to the next thing. This is usually the pattern I see in a lot of people’s behaviour nowadays. Sometimes I’m afraid the economy will affect our minds too much, as I catch myself thinking in the same way every now and then.
The act of being patient, letting time pass as you wait for something. It’s not something everyone can do at the same level, but it is definitely a thing we can learn. Instead of trying to save time by wrapping things up quickly, skip a few notes on a paper or try and take a shortcut, I find it often better to just take the normal route, take my time and do things at my own pace. “But why should we do things at a normal pace? Why not save some extra time so I can watch more television in the evening?” – Is one of the questions I usually get. Again, sometimes I’m afraid this economy has infected some of us a bit too much…
I usually start with a military explanation, as it is easily comprehensible. As a military man you’ve recieved training in various aspects of combat. When you eventually enter a combat situation, you don’t have a lot of time to think. It’s act, or be acted upon, which isn’t good news if it happens. Ideally, you’d want to act as quickly as you can, but as you don’t have any time to think you will be limited by the timing of your reflexes. It is not hard to note that soldiers with decades of training will have a higher chance of survival than a rookie new to a gun. Even though they know that they have to act quickly, they will not try to take any shortcuts or speed things up. They rely purely on their reflexes and the training they have done.
They take their time and move at their own pace.
In philosophy, reading a book will give you a great number of new insights and thoughts, but to fully comprehend the total wisdom of the book in one run is impossible. It might even take me years to understand one simple concept only to find out that there are millions of other ways to look at it. After all, gathering wisdom, self-knowledge, practical wisdom,… It’s a lifelong journey, not something to be summarised in a couple of pages. It not only requires reading, but thinking about the plentiful subjects. It asks both time and patience. I’ve seen many young students being interested in philosophy, but giving up relatively quickly. It saddens me as it could have made their lives more bright.
Just like the previous topics, things take time to build up. If you’re someone who works out a lot, you will have noticed the progression of your strength. Nobody would be able to lift heavy weights without first building up muscle tissues with lower weights. You would not be able to perform those dance moves without practice, and you would not be able to break that brick with your hand if it wasn’t for that daily karate training.
It’s important to note that not only our physical strength / coordination increases, but also our mental capability. Especially on activities with a deeper focus on mental aspects such as martial arts, the many mental traits are being tested and trained as well.
Every day life
When doing the normal things I have to do (eat, sleep, transportation, presentations, studying,…), I try not to rush anything. We all have our deadlines we have to meet, but mostly I try to do things at my own pace. Rushing forward will have no benefit to me. I would lose (in)sight of what I’m doing, I would not be able to do it as good as I would have on my normal pace, and I would feel rushed. It might sound silly, but I feel less relaxed if I complete a task earlier due to skipping a few things. When I take the longer route but do it at my own pace I feel more relaxed, even if it took a much longer time to complete and I have no time left for anything else.
I’ll touch on the previous post and say, once again, rushing towards our goal at the end of our path might be an option, but you will miss out on the journey. Life is all about the journey, so there will be a lot of things left behind.
Do not rush your life. Do not chase the person you love as if it would be the last one. Complete your tasks at your own pace and learn about the world while doing so. Don’t give in to the seducing mind of the economy and keep your head clear. Let things come towards you.
To finish off with a quote a beautiful friend of mine showed me a couple of days ago:
“Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…” (Thoreau).
It is more applicable in a future post about love, but I find it fitting in many topics such as this one. I will stop here and let you take your time to think about this quote.