WORK-LIFE BALANCE / JUN. 24, 2015
version 17, draft 17

Is Patience a Power We Need in Order to Succeed?

There are two popular sayings regarding patience: "Patience is a virtue" and "Good things come to those who wait." Before you sit back and stop trying, remember that English sayings can’t be taken literally, and there’s a difference between being patient and being passive.

Patience is what you do once you’ve done everything you can, while passivity is sitting back and waiting without actually doing anything first. Which do you think is more likely to get you what you want?

See also: How to Exercise Patience

There’s no such thing as overnight success

We might hear about them overnight, but the only form of success that comes immediately is ‘likes’ on social media. And before you argue Justin Bieber or J.K. Rowling, the lucky YouTube video that made Justin Bieber famous wasn’t his first and his future manager wasn’t the first or even thousandth viewer, while Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was rejected 12 times before it was published.

Patience is a virtue…

Virtues are good. If we’re virtuous, people like us, and then those people are more likely to help us succeed. Additionally, the more we try, the more likely we are to get what we want. Consider these two scenarios:

  1. K. Rowling patiently submitted to other publishers until someone accepted her manuscript and helped her become a billionaire.
  2. We’re more likely to buy from a salesperson who says ‘hi’ and then leaves us alone until we ask them for help.

…and pushiness can backfire

Of course, when everyone is fighting to be the best in their industry, being patient won’t serve you well if the person you’re trying to impress simply moves on to the next pushier person who seems to have more faith in himself. That doesn’t mean pushiness is always the answer, however, as you can go too far:

  • What if Rowling had decided she wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer from the first publisher? Best case scenario: they would have realized their mistake. Worst case: they might have blacklisted her and prevented any publisher from ever taking her on.
  • Those salespeople who say ‘hi’, offer to help, get a ‘no’, and then follow you around the shop. Not only does it make you uncomfortable, it can also make you feel that they think you’re going to steal something.

A little bit of luck

Every kind of success requires some form of patience; even if your very first video was to go viral and make you millions, you would still have to be patient while you make it and upload it and the word spread. It would then need to be luckily seen by the right person.

J.K. Rowling’s stroke of luck was when the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury Publishing’s chairman was given a copy of the first book’s manuscript for review. After reading the first chapter, the chairman’s daughter demanded for more, which ultimately resulted in a publishing deal for Rowling.

Good things come to those who wait. Get out there, get the ball rolling, and only then will the pieces ever fall into place and come back to you.

See also: How Patient are British People? [Infographic]

Do you consider yourself to be a patient person? Do you think patience is the key to success, or can we succeed without it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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