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 hurry - patience

You don't have to do more than take a short drive to see how impatient people tend to be.  Speed limits seem to be irrelevant to most people, who are in such a hurry to get where they're going that their only concern is arriving, and they're not paying any attention at all to the process of getting there.  I've worked for people who want things done now, and they didn't care a bit about the quality of the work--if they had allowed their people another couple of hours to put on finishing touches, the product of the labor would have been of much higher quality.  They got what they needed quickly, but the quality wasn't anywhere near what it could have been, and the people who needed the work done weren't nearly as satisfied with it as they could have been.

Our culture values speed and output; we talk of quotas and productivity.  A few companies base entire marketing campaigns on maintaining quality over producing great numbers of products, and those are the companies that will last--as long as their product delivers what their ads promise.  This focus on speed, though, hurts us in quite a few ways.

First of all, when we focus on speed, quality almost always suffers.  There are a few types of jobs that really can't affect quality if we speed them up, but most jobs do.  Do you really want the person who worked on your computer on an assembly line to risk making a mistake because he or she has to meet a quota every hour?

Maybe that's why my modem doesn't work properly--someone was in such a hurry that he or she missed soldering  a very important connection, or plugged something in a bit too loosely before everything was closed for good.

And what happens when we force young people to hurry up?  What are we teaching them?  That taking their time and doing a job right aren't valuable habits--speed is all that matters.  It's kind of sad, but it's very true.  Kids grow up thinking that things have to be done super quickly, not super well.

We also lose our ability to focus on the process.  If we're so focused on getting to work, all we notice are the other cars that may or may not be in our way, and we focus so much on the driving that we don't see anything around us--we miss the trees and the flowers and the birds and the people that we could be seeing along the way.  We sacrifice those things because we want to focus on the road and the destination, not the trip itself.  Sometimes I've built things quickly, and I've gotten nothing out of the process of building them other than a finished product.  Sometimes I've needed to do this, because I've needed things quickly, and the quality didn't really matter.
But other times, I've taken my time and I've focused on the process of doing something very well, and I've gotten an awful lot out of the process of making what I've made.  It's been great to take the time to measure things several times, and to make slow, precise cuts in wood, for example, or to take my time with the paint and pay attention to every brush stroke.

Many of us also lose our ability to relax and smile a bit.  Because we're so caught up in thinking about getting what we need soon, we can't relax until we have it.  We worry about time; we look at our watches instead of trusting other people to deliver what they've promised.  Does this help us?  Not a bit--we end up being worried all the time, and much time passes that we haven't enjoyed, never again to be recaptured.  The time we've spent fretting and fuming and warning and being impatient cannot be reclaimed, and if someone were to ask us if we were getting the most out of our lives during those moments, we'd have to shake our heads ruefully and answer "no"--that is, if we're being honest.

I've forced myself to recognize when I'm starting to be impatient, for I'm an impatient person by nature.  If my car isn't ready when they told me it would be and I have another hour to wait, my natural tendency is to be impatient and annoyed.  I try very hard, though, to force myself to find a positive way to spend the time--usually I'll do one of three things--take a walk in the conscious attempt to see something I've never seen before; visit a store with the same purpose in mind, or take the chance to read something that I normally wouldn't read.  When I've done these things instead of being impatient, I've gotten a lot out of time that I otherwise would have wasted, and I've felt much better about myself afterwards.  Sometimes, I take the opportunity to do nothing--I just go outside and watch people or think.  That's nice, too.

Impatience robs us of a great deal of joy, and it prevents us from enjoying peace of mind and peace of heart.  If we can find ways to deal with it, we can get so much more out of our time.  We don't have that much time on this planet, but when we think about it, we have a lot of time.  Let's use it productively and get something out of it, rather than being miserable just because we want something now that we can't even get now--we have to wait.  Let's make the wait enjoyable.



Experience has taught me this, that we undo ourselves by impatience.
Misfortunes have their life and their limits, their sickness and their health.

Michel de Montaigne


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For no one does life drag more disagreeably
than for those who try to speed it up.

Jean Paul Richter


There's more to life than increasing its speed.

Mohandas Gandhi


Impatience can cause wise people to do foolish things.

Janette Oke

What good has impatience ever brought? It has only served as
the mother of mistakes and the father of irritation.

Steve Maraboli

They speak foolishly who ascribe their anger or their impatience to such
as offend them or to tribulation.  Tribulation does not make people
impatient, but proves that they are impatient.  So everyone may
learn from tribulation how his or her heart is constituted.

Martin Luther


The exercise of patience involves a continual practice of the presence of
God, for we may be called upon at any moment for an almost heroic display
of good temper.  And it is a short road to unselfishness, for nothing is left
to self.  All that seems to belong most intimately to self, to be self's
private property, such as time, home, and rest, are invaded by these
continual trials of patience.

Frederick William Faber



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I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a
tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to
come out.  I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was
impatient.  I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it.  I warmed it
as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes,
faster than life.  The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling
out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were
folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole
trembling body to unfold them.  Bending over it, I tried to help it with my
breath.  In vain.  It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding
of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun.  Now it was too late.
My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its
time.  It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later,
died in the palm of my hand.

That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my
conscience.  For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the
great laws of nature.  We should not hurry, we should not be
impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.

Nikos Kazantzakis
from Zorba the Greek

Laziness acknowledges the relation of the present to the past but ignores
its relation to the future; impatience acknowledges its relation to the future
but ignores its relation to the past; neither the lazy nor the impatient person,
that is, accepts the present instant in its full reality and so cannot
love his or her neighbour completely.

W.H. Auden


When we get impatient because something is taking too long,
we should remember that Life waits on us a thousand times
more than we wait on Life.

Laura Teresa Marquez


When you wear the weed of impatience in your heart instead
of the flower Acceptance-with-Joy, you will always find
your enemies get an advantage over you.

Hannah Hurnard


Patience is the support of weakness; impatience the ruin of strength.

Charles Caleb Colton

Three hundred years ago a prisoner condemned to the Tower of
London carved on the wall of his cell this sentiment to keep up his
spirits during his long imprisonment:  "It is not adversity that kills,
but the impatience with which we bear adversity."

James Keller


One of the expressions of Western over-reliance on technology can
be seen in the lack of patience in industrial society.  When you deal
with technology, everything happens at the touch of a button.  This
conditions you to become so impatient that when you have an
emotional or personal crisis, you don't allow time for the solution
to take effect.  This leads to all sorts of rash responses,
like quarrels, fights and so on.

The Dalai Lama

hurry - patience

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Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin:  impatience.  Because of
impatience we were driven out of Paradise; because
of impatience we cannot return.

W.H. Auden

Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the
outcome of a goal.  Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement
and failure.  Patience creates confidence, decisiveness and
a rational outlook, which eventually lead to success.

Brian Adams


Impatience is one of our greatest sufferings.  To realize how foolish it is
to become impatient, try turning your watch ahead, or tear
a few sheets off the calendar in your efforts to advance time.

James Mangan



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



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