“Patience is a virtue.” ~William Langland, 1377
How many times have we all heard to old adage, “Patience is a virtue“? It must be true, if only revealed through our society’s collective memorization of the phrase. In fact, the wisdom of those words so often becomes lost in its redundant over-usage.
Years ago, I remember my 6th grade history teacher dishing out the cliche in a joking fashion when our class would ask when graded tests and papers would finally be returned to us.
If patience was a virtue, so too was it the perfect excuse for making someone wait… maybe even forever. And if that was the case, couldn’t an over-reliance upon patience — being too patient for life to unfold — become detrimental and actually cause debilitating hesitation or a reluctance to make the choice to take action?
“…But Virtue Can Hurt You.”
These questions about patience dawned upon me when on the Facebook Page for DaveUrsillo.com I wondered aloud, “How do you prevent Patience from becoming Reluctance?” Although patience certainly is a virtue, I began to question if a plausible effect of unfettered dedication to patience might be that an over-dependence upon patience might gradually devolve one’s mindset toward becoming hesitant, too reluctant to take significant action. After all, it was Chaucer who borrowed the adage before including, “…but virtue can hurt you.”
Don’t get me wrong; developing a strong sense of patience is highly beneficial, if not an utter necessity. Patience reveals and nurtures maturity while developing stronger mental-emotional endurance, strength and focus. If someone wants to be successful in any aspect of life, whether in love or a career, patience is an absolute must. Even still, can’t someone become too patient, to the point where depending solely upon patience becomes detrimental to the situation at hand?
Somewhere Between Choice and Action
Perhaps the issue of patience devolving into hesitation and reluctance occurs when we over-rely upon circumstances beyond our control to in-and-of-themselves influence what we strongly wish and desire. At some point, patience is likely to push us to a place where we realize that more is needed than simple patience itself. Thus, the problem is not with patience itself; the fear of it devolving into a state of hesitation and reluctance occurs only when we begin to over-rely upon “things” outside of our control to influence what we desire.
Enduring difficult times is a must because struggle is what separates mere day-dreamers from “doers” and achievers in life. Encountering such difficult times beckons us to occasionally pause, examine the situation at hand and assess the methods and approaches we are using to achieve our goals. Without patience, none of this could ever be realized.
Being patient is a gift because it provides us with the necessary time to develop inside, to understand people and the world around us, and to ultimately understand that we always possess Choice. No matter how much patience is needed to endure the time that will pass before our goals and dreams are realized, it is ultimately only by our choosing that we decide whether or not we will ever get there.