I will never forget the surprise I had the day I found my son smashing bird eggs! You see, the birds have somehow found refuge under our braai (barbeque) area, and I guess it has become so much so like that the birds felt like extending their family there was ideal. The birds could have never imagined that placing their eggs there was a risk, especially with a 5 year running around. I tried to get my son’s opinion as to why he broke the eggs, and his response was astounding (and funny). He said, “I wanted to see the little bird.”
In trying to explain to him that it takes time and patience for the egg to hatch on itself to reveal the little bird, and simply smashing the egg is the process I learned something valuable. And today let us be honest about in trying to answer this question, “How many of my dreams, plans, initiatives, etc. have I abandoned because I did not have the patience to wait out the course?” Or we at any moment look at the eggs of our dreams and smash them open in trying to prematurely give birth to our destinies?
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering you own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” (St. Francis de Sales)
I will be the first one to admit that patience or waiting is not easy! No, patience is hard and it takes practice. Patience is really about having the inner strength to stick to your guns, face your fears, repeatedly let go of internal and external expectations, and have faith that it will all work out in the end. Being patient is a necessity to a life of achievement because it is the nature of things and the law of time that you cannot immediately reap where you have sown. Anything worthwhile takes time to grow and mature. So your dreams too require this time of nurturing and growth. It is during this time, when the fruits of your labour may not be evident, that your patience is most required.
“If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.” (Sir Isaac Newton)
Patience has to be practiced. In as much we live in times where everything must happen instantly, we still require following principles; and patience is one of them in reaching any goals in this life. Here are five (5) things that I think we should keep in mind about patience when chasing the dream to becoming the masters of our own destinies.
- Do not just wait
How many times have you said you do not have time to read a book for example, but you seem to have the time waiting for a bus while you do nothing?
Waiting alone is not enough. Good things do not come to those who wait. Good things come to those who wait, but who also actively do something about their situation whilst they are waiting. If waiting was all it took to have good things in life everyone could achieve their dreams because waiting is effortless. Good things rarely come effortlessly.
- Remember that setbacks are temporary (learn from them)
In 1914 a fire broke out in Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Machinery worth millions and all the papers pertaining to his lifelong research were burnt to ashes. Hearing of this tragedy his son Charles came looking for him and he found him standing by the side enjoying the leaping flames. On seeing Charles, Edison said to him: “Where is your mother? Go find her and bring her here quickly; such a sight she will never see again!”
The next day, walking amidst the ashes of his hopes and dreams, the 67 year-old inventor said: “What benefit there is in destruction! All our mistakes have been burnt to ashes, thank God! Now we can begin afresh, all over again!”
- Do not look at others (stay in your lane)
Never ever judge your success (or failures) based on other people! One of the things that make people impatient is seeing other people getting ahead faster than they are. This is especially true if you all started off at the same time and with the same resources and opportunities. For example if you went to the same high together, generally; there is uneasiness when someone is moving ahead in their career and achieving more things. At such times it is easy to leave your plan and seek a “shortcut” to success.
But this should not be the case. In order to have patience it is essential for you to know what your plan is and where you are headed as an individual. There are a number of ways to achieve any one thing. The trick is to stick to your own plan when others around you seem to be getting ahead much faster than you. Yes, someone may be enjoying more success than you, but you know nothing about where they are ultimately headed (or even how and why they started). Why should your path and your direction be determined by what others are doing? Be patient with your own plans and your own dreams.
- Apathy is not patience
Apathy is a habit that must never be confused with patience. Apathy is one of the biggest weaknesses today. Apathy manifests itself across the various spheres of our lives, not only in personal lives, but also in our politics for example. Do not confuse patience with the custom of passively waiting for things to change. No, that is just laziness! But to keep going when the going is hard and slow – that is patience!
So if you are simply being aloof and patiently waiting for a brighter tomorrow you need to think twice about your strategy. Patience goes hand in hand with consistent action. “Ideation without execution is mere delusion” (R. Sharma). It is easy to be patient when you are doing something about your situation because then you are in control and you are able to determine the progress made despite the apparent lack of noticeable results.
- Faith is the key
In the book “Think and Grow Rich”, the author (Napoleon Hill) tells a story titled “three feet from gold.” This is a story about a man who found a piece of land that had promising gold deposits. After convincing some relatives and friends he managed to get enough money to buy the machinery necessary to mine the gold ore. But a few weeks later, having initially hit some gold deposits, he lost the vein of gold ore. Desperately, he and his colleagues drilled to try and find the vein of gold deposits again. But to no avail. Eventually, after digging many weeks, he decided to quit.
He sold the machinery to a junk man for a few hundred dollars and went back home. Luckily, the junk man was smart. He got a mining engineer to come and look at the mine. The engineer made some calculations and showed the junk man that the person he bought the machinery from had quit just three feet away from where the gold deposits were. Had he continued digging he would have found the gold. The junk man had truly struck it rich and made millions of dollars in ore from the mine.
This story illustrates that faith is the key to achieving your dreams; you have to believe even at times where your belief may look like you are losing your mind that “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” (Chinese proverb).
The hatching of an egg is a process, just like your business; studies; starting over; or whatever positive direction you taking in life. Remember, “If an Egg Is Broken by an outside Force, Life Ends. If broken by an inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.” (Jim Kwik).
Love and Respect,
Dumisani Mashaba is the Managing Director/Coach/Speaker at Hlumelela