Pride and Patience
How does pride produce impatience? By placing ourselves at the center of everything, we grow impatient when things do not go our way
Here I was sitting with a friend and having a conversation about a new workshop we were developing. I began to realise how impatient I was getting on the amount of time it was taking to put it all together and that it will still be some weeks before we can go live with the workshop. I could feel the sensations impatience was creating in my body and I verbalised it to my friend. Something shifted in that moment, and I wanted to see what lies beneath this impatience for it was not the first time I was feeling this way about something / project I was working on.
And so I figured that if I leave this unexplored, it would end up like pulling dandelions out of the yard every day, only to see them grow back in a week, and keep coming back year after year. That happens because the root of a dandelion is much deeper than the little yellow flowers we see on the surface. So I headed over to Google University (google search!) and here is what I found to be the root cause of impatience.
Let's begin with a quote I came across amongst other materials - “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” - from this I got that impatience was rooted in a version pride and arrogance. It could be the impatience of not waiting for someone to complete what they have to say i.e. 'better is the end' or our impatience when we are stuck in traffic etc.
How does pride produce impatience? By placing ourselves at the center of everything, we grow impatient when things do not go our way. When we don’t get things as fast as we want, pride nudges us to take them by whatever means necessary, instead of waiting patiently for them.
Mostly for me I experience impatience in my work when things are not happening on my expected timeline. This has both positive and not so positive impacts in my life when I now look back.
On the positive, this impatience has been the source of moving forward, getting things down. That 'go-getter' attitude which I value in myself and do not what to give up on. Many organisations hire based on this parameter and as a management consultant, my work is to get things done at a rapid pace with high quality. So it's a helpful trait to have.
But what I do think does not work is if this drive comes from a place of 'my agenda' is more important than yours or by placing myself at the center of everything i.e. do my work first before anyone else's. I think this is arrogance. I am thinking that I have somewhere to go, something important to do, and I need to get there now! But this arrogantly overlooks the obvious: I am surrounded by other real people who also have places to go and things to do.
My takeaway, for me, is that I get to keep this 'drive' to get things done but each time I catch myself being gripped by impatience, it will be a learning moment to pause, go within and ask myself "how is this helping everyone involved, what is the impact on the others, what are the longer term implications?" and once I answer these questions, I get to choose my next actions.