I’ve always been told that patience is a virtue. That it is a necessary accompaniment when sailing through the sometimes turbulent, yet rewarding, ocean that is life.
Actually, I’m lying. As far as I can remember, I’ve never actually met a single person who has told me with complete confidence that patience guarantees reward. Why is that? Because we don’t actually live in a world where patience is given the credence that it frankly deserves. Instead, we’re all locked into, for better or for worse, this ideal that in order to really get something out of your life, you have to grab it, conquer it and defy everything else in your path to get it.
Maybe that sounds too dramatic, but I feel it’s true. And, in some sense, that’s okay. Of course we should be passionate about what we do and go to great lengths to obtain what we want — a hard work ethic is an essential tool in any highly motivated, would-be professional’s arsenal. Also, having an ego isn’t always a bad thing, because you’re going to need that trust in yourself (and your skills) to face all those obstacles that will most likely stand in your way and, most importantly, bug the hell out of you.
That said, I take issue with people who interpret the phrase “good things come to those who wait” as weak or irrelevant in our bustling and seemingly merciless work-oriented world. I’ve frequently seen posts on social media where people proudly display images or phrases that counter it. Generally, they all bring up the point that good things do indeed come to those who wait, but that better things come to those who try and pounce. And yeah, sure, at face value that seems absolutely true. Given the fact that we now live in a society that has mostly grown attuned to the dimensions of the internet, it’s become more apparent that millions of people live day in and day out a life of “maybe”s and of “hope”s and of “wishes.” In other words, there are plenty of people out there who talk big about what they want to do and yet, they never bother to do anything about making those dreams and aspirations of theirs a reality. So yes, it’s good to reenforce people to step-up and do something with their lives. But, we shouldn’t undermine patience!
The problem with a lot of people (hell, myself included) is that we think that hard work automatically equals success or that it brings some sort of instant gratification. Sure, there are occasions where hard work pays off and it pays off quickly. But, there’s a difference between, let’s say, studying hard for an exam and acing it, and working hard to obtain a university degree and then obtaining a job. The difference between both scenarios is that the latter is much more grounded to the complex reality of things. A lot of people in this world toil day and night to make their professional prospects a reality. Many do succeed, but it most probably was a long road for them to get there.
The point I’m trying to make with all of this is that we shouldn’t cast off the phrase “good things come to those who wait” as rubbish. You should always try to give it your all in life when it matters, and that will always be true. It’s never a bad idea to get out there and try to conquer the dreams that you keep locked away with your “if”s and “but”s. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that our world doesn’t always agree to fair trade –you won’t always get in return what you’ve put in. You need patience to persevere through the disappointments that will inevitably rap at your door, and patience to guide your ego and talent towards those long-term goals of yours.
Don’t think that your entitled to everything just because you got out there and worked hard. A lot of people are able to do just that. You have to mix your determination with the patience that it needs to not be exhausted too soon.
But that’s just my opinion.
The Cynical Scribe