If you’ve ever seen a film such as The Illusionist, or the Shawshank Redemption, then you’ve seen a theatrical interpretation of the power of patience.
While the films themselves may show unlikely scenarios and feats by the use of patience, this should not diminish the power of patience.
Indeed, patience can be your greatest asset. Patience is powerful because it is a command of time.
The most powerful variable in compounding interest is time. It doesn’t matter if the interest rate is 100%, if the time is only a second, you get very little.
(sorry, I love showing numbers):
$1,000,000 in an account for 1 second at 100% interest will earn you about 3-4 cents, but $100.00 in an account for a year at 3% will yield you $3.00 or 100 times more money. When you include compounding interest, over longer spans of time, the numbers become staggering. Patience (time) can trump all numbers.
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The Power of Patience
When I speak of patience, I don’t just mean sitting around passively, and doing nothing. I would consider that apathy. When I talk of patience, I talk of someone who is confidently trying to achieve their goals, not taking shortcuts, and not rushing. I am speaking of a person who thinks carefully, and methodically.
As I said, patience is really just the purposeful command of time, and this is what makes patience so powerful. Patience allows you to think with a sound mind, it allows you to consider all variables, it earns respect, and it allows you to leverage time to your advantage. When applied, patience will allow you to accomplish anything.
What Does The Bible Say About Patience?
Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29, NIV
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.
Proverbs 15:18, NIV
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Proverbs 16:32, NIV
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
Proverbs 19:11, NIV
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Proverbs 25:15, NIV
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Ecclesiastes 7:8, NIV
Patience seems to have experienced a degradation due to our microwaveable, drive-through, instant gratification society. You can’t drive down the road without having someone tailgating, you can’t turn on the television without hearing about a get-rich-quick scheme, and you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who saves for a large purchase rather than putting it on their credit card.
All of these are symptoms of a larger problem: impatience is running rampant. Impatience is what has our world running 24/7/365. Impatience is why we have the debt problem we do, and why so many people are always so upset. While this all sounds bad, it can also be an opportunity.
Patience Is An Opportunity
With everyone being so impatient, you have an area of opportunity: being patient! This is an opportunity, because it will be noticed. Like anything else on Earth, scarcity primarily determines value. With everyone being so commonly impatient, your exhibition of patience will be seen as extraordinary.
People will respect your level of patience because it will be something that they’ve seldom experienced. Your patience will be appreciated because it will be seen as an act of kindness not often displayed. This gratitude will turn into respect. Being able to consistently display patience will eventually earn you a reputation as well.
Developing Your Patience
You can develop your patience, but it is a hard thing to do. It requires that you objectively, and constantly assess your attitude in situations that you would ordinarily find extremely agitating. Impatience spans many situations that I can’t cover entirely, but you know what makes you impatient and I’m sure you can figure out ways to work on your patience.
Some ideas to increase patience:
- If you are obsessed with time, and getting things done, then purposefully take the long way.
- If certain people annoy you, get to know their story. Often, getting to know people will give you a better understanding about why they are the way they are. This alone may be enough to change your attitude.
- Work with less fortunate people, and do it with a soft heart.
There are no guarantees that you’ll overcome every little sticking point, but everyone can improve their level of patience. You just have to make it a goal, and always have it on your mind.