There is an old story of a person trapped on the roof of a building as floodwaters are rising.
A boat passes and the occupants shout “come down, we’ll take you to safety”. The person says “No, God will save me”.
Another boat passes. The occupants shout “come down, we’ll take you to safety” The person says “No, God will save me.”
The floodwaters rise and the person drowns. At the gates of heaven the person asks God “why didn’t you save me?” and God replies “I sent you two boats, why didn’t you accept my help?”
On Being Active while Being Patient
Passive Patience is waiting for what you want.
Active patience is preparing yourself to be maximally prepared to find the right types of opportunity, and to have the skills, resources and network to really make use of the opportunity when it finally comes.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about the life strategy of “Stand in the Traffic”. Shane Parrish in a recent Farnham Street newsletter item reminded me of the concept. His framing of the concept is “Active Patience”.
If you’ve not read about “Stand in the Traffic” as a life strategy, check out the original post:
On Active Patience
Patience in itself is not a negative trait. Patience is the ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset.
Patience is a necessary attribute for achieving long-term goals.
Patience can be divided into two forms: passive and active.
Passive patience is waiting for something to happen without taking any action to bring it about.
Active patience involves taking steps towards your goals while understanding that results may take time. This form of patience acknowledges the necessity of individual effort and also respects the nature of time.
“The least effective form of patience is passive: –
A person who is passively patient waits for the universe to give them what they think they deserve. Five years from now, they’ll still be waiting. Passive patience violates Newton’s third law, which states, ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.’
No action. No result.
The world isn’t indebted to you, and no one is destined to come your way, tap your shoulder, and present you with the golden opportunity you’ve been waiting for. It doesn’t work that way.
The most effective form of patience is active patience.
Active patience implies taking significant steps today to set yourself up for future success. It’s about strategically preparing for what lies ahead—saving more than you spend and investing wisely, developing the necessary skills for future job prospects, choosing kindness over cleverness, and so on.
Here is the key lesson: Active patience puts the world on your side. If you go positive and go first, and you do so consistently, the world does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.”
How can you Stand in the Traffic, or take a stance of Active Patience in your most important goals?
I have a metaphor I use as an entrepreneur at challenging times in life. If you are travelling on a boat along a river, if the river is going the other direction, you are better pulling the boat to the shore and resting. Paddling against the tide is exhausting and the tide is stronger than you.
This requires that you have the ability to be patient.
Some things that cannot be rushed:
What else can you think of that cannot be rushed?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…
I share a tool that I have used to become mindful of my daily activities.
This video is from the IESE EMBA Intensive week and I share an exercise that I have been doing for the last few months – that has shown me that “feeling in a rush” is one of the big detractors of my quality of life.
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