The Law of Patience and Perseverance
The Law of Patience and Perseverance is simple: Work the process that is necessary for the time that is required, and solve problems along the way.
Patience and perseverance are essential for achieving any goal, personal or professional. Success is the result of working the process that is necessary for the time that is required. It is simply the nature of the world in which we live and work. Achieving things takes time and process.
Perseverance is being relentless about doing what needs to be done for as long as it takes. Perseverance is essential because there will be plans and projects that require a great deal of effort and endurance. If you are relentless, you don’t give up. You don’t listen to the quitting voice. You trust the process, do the work, and keep going.
Patience is the strength of will to navigate the obstacles and challenges you will face as you work the process. Patience is essential because there will be problems. There will be people who irritate you and situations that frustrate you. If you are patient, you stay focused on doing the work. You don’t complain, you solve.
Patience isn’t passive; it is proactive.
You can’t cheat the necessary process, nor can you cheat the time that is required. In some situations it is possible to use strategies to streamline the process or techniques to accelerate the time, but The Law still applies. There is always a process that is necessary and a time that is required.
In any area of your life where you want to achieve something, it is your responsibility to understand the process and time required and then do the work. For as long as it takes. Without complaining. That is The Law of Patience and Perseverance, and it applies to virtually everything of importance in life and at work:
- Building a marriage
- Raising children
- Leading a business
- Managing a project
- Navigating change
- Getting in shape
- Mastering a skill
Impatience diminishes perseverance
Patience and perseverance require focused attention. When you lose focus, you lose patience, which in turn diminishes your perseverance. This happens when you complain about working the process, get irritated about the time that is required, or get annoyed at the obstacles you have to deal with. When you lose patience and get frustrated, it is an indicator that negative things have hijacked your attention, and you are no longer focused on the work that needs to be done.
Recently I did observational research by watching people and noting the presence or absence of patience in the way they responded to situations that confronted them. I had many opportunities to observe the behavior of people as they responded to situations in airports, on freeways, in hotels, restaurants, business meetings, schools, conversations, and work projects.
The amount of impatience I witnessed was alarming. I noticed that in every situation where people were impatient, three things happened:
- The impatient people lost focus on what really mattered. Rather than working the process that would achieve the goal they wanted, they engaged in BCD (blame others, complain about the situation, defend self).
- The impatient attitude and behavior was always counterproductive, and it made the situation worse.
- When people were impatient, their stress level increased quickly and dramatically. It not only made the situation more difficult for them, it also made the situation more difficult for the people around them. When impatient people encountered an obstacle, they were quick to get frustrated and angry, and they were quick to complain. Ironically, their complaining wasted significant time and energy that could have been invested in solving the problems and making progress toward their goal.
It’s also relevant to note that very few of the situations that impatient people complained about were unexpected. The work they had to do and the problems they were likely to face were not a secret. What derailed them was their mindset. They weren’t prepared to do the work required, and they weren’t prepared to navigate the obstacles. The problems weren’t the problem; their impatience was the problem.
Patience empowers perseverance
I also observed people acting with patience and perseverance, and I saw something very powerful. The patience of these people empowered their perseverance. It strengthened their resolve and kept them focused on the process.
Patient people didn’t get distracted, and they didn’t get discouraged. They maintained their focus on doing the work to achieve their goals, and they weren’t discouraged by the obstacles and challenges they encountered. Patient people accepted problem-solving as part of the process. They weren’t surprised by obstacles; they were prepared.
I also noticed that patient people were a source of encouragement and positive energy. They had a calming effect on the people around them. Because the patient people did not get upset or derailed by the problems they faced, they influenced others to complain less and solve more.
Patience and perseverance — and the focus that comes with it — are essential disciplines of leadership. People with patience have an enormous competitive advantage over impatient people. Patient people solve problems faster, get better results, and experience significantly less stress.
Is there some area of your life where you are impatient? It could be toward a person you work with or live with. It could be toward a plan or a project you are working on. It could be toward a process you are trying to implement or change. Whatever it might be, is there some area in your life right now where you are impatient and your focus is drifting, your motivation is diminishing, and your energy is declining?
If so, it is time for a reset. It is time to refocus your mind and rekindle your motivation for doing the work. It is time to rediscover The Law of Patience and Perseverance. It is time to work the process that is necessary for the time that is required, and solve problems along the way.