What a strange combination of words — active patience. Especially with our phones beeping, our to do lists littered with lines drawn through them for things we have completed, and our calendar screaming at us for where we need to be next.
Active patience. What could this combination of words mean?
Active patience is a key to exhibiting discipline. Of staying the course when nothing seems obvious. it’s consciously understanding that time is needed to see results. Where you actively seek out patience as the “middle step” in what you have chosen to do.
As humans, filled with our emotions and imperfect perceptions, we tend to want to overeact to things where nothing appears to be happening. We always want to do something more or different. Many times, when doing more or different, it changes the outcome very little.
When you are intent on realizing a goal or outcome, you need to be actively patient as you take steps to realize them. The actively part is watching for feedback. where small hints affirm you are going in the right direction. The actively part is controlling yourself to wait and see where things are headed. This becomes much easier when you begin to understand that very little changes in a day.
There is a component of more learning when actively patient. New information appears where this can now lead to further adjustments on your part. Being actively vigilant while being patient affords you the time to do this.
Active patience also has an aspect to it of accepting imperfection. Where things looked at on a frequent basis may not measure up to your expectation, but over a period of time you begin to see progress in the direction you hoped for.
Self-awareness is the throttle that guides you in how long and how much active patience you should have in a given situation. The more self-aware you are, I believe the more actively patient you become, because you understand better how you impact situations and have a good sense as to where/when you can contribute the most. It helps immensely with the timing of your next action – sometimes it should be quick and other times it is best for it to happen much later. When you are more self-aware, you have a good sense as to which option to take.
Self-control is the driver of active patience. It’s easy to burst out, become emotional, and stressed that things aren’t where you want them to be. It’s much harder to be calm and reserved during the height of uncertainty. Difficult to do yet critical to deriving benefits from being actively patient.
Being actively patient is a muscle that we need to use over and over in order for it to become strong and helpful in our lives. It is very different than simply being patient and content with waiting for something to happen. And it is far different than inaction or avoidance.
Active patience is simply a way to give you time to assess a situation and see how things unfold before lunging ahead and possibly destroying the progress you are making to realizing the goal or outcome you want. Understanding it well can become an important lever in your life going forward.