Remember the famous race between the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise didn’t care who saw him plodding along, a little road dust clinging to his feet. He was making progress every minute. The hare, on the other hand, relied on the flash and the speed that the tortoise lacked. He sprinted down the path and then felt so confident in winning the race that he stopped for a nap. And when he woke up—oops! The tortoise was crossing the finish line.
And the moral of the story? The race does not always go to the swift. Sometimes it goes to the patient, the plodder. What’s your PQ (Patience Quotient)? Would you rather be flashy or persistent? Which one offers the greatest benefit? Let’s take a closer look.
A related word to patience that’s common in today’s vocabulary is GRIT. The definition boils down mainly to words like “courageously persistent, brave, plucky, showing resolution and fortitude.” GRIT is also described by an acronym that stands for Growth, Resilience, Instinct, and Tenacity. Bestselling books have been written about GRIT. College campuses hold seminars for beginning students to teach them how to acquire and apply GRIT in their studies and careers. There are GRIT boot camps and GRIT support groups. In order to reach your goals, you must have patience; you must have GRIT.
Unfortunately, too many management seminars and self-help course today ignore grit completely. They teach the fallacy of needing Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Just by approaching your goals that way, you are subconsciously admitting that Plan A might not work. Something might go wrong, so you should not waste time trying to fix it. Instead, plan in advance to change course. No grit to that strategy, is there?
Here’s a better plan: call on your grit and devote 100% of your energy to Plan A and not even 1% to Plan B. The only time you should move into Plan B is when you have done EVERYTHING you can about Plan A, and you know from your experience that it will not work. According to some experts, grit is the ability to dig deep within ourselves and do whatever it takes — including sacrifice, struggle, and suffer — to achieve our highest goals. That is a Plan A strategy all the way. That is grit.
We now know WHAT it is. The big question is: HOW do we go about acquiring it? Here’s the good news: grit and patience can be learned. Of course, it doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up some sunny day and find you have a lifetime supply of patience at your fingertips.
Try this experiment to build your grit capacity: once a week, schedule a Day of Patience. The keyword for this day is FOCUS. Focus on the now, each moment, one instant at a time. Boring client on the phone? Listen and take notes. Pick up on key points of the conversation you can repeat back to her. For one entire day, don’t look forward or back. Live in the moment. Savor it.
Have you ever been to a wine tasting? At a formal tasting, you are presented with five or six different glasses accompanied by five or six different kinds of wine. The sommelier tells you a few things about each wine. Then, slowly, he pours a small amount in your glass. First, you put your nose deep into the glass and inhale. What do you smell? Flowers? Fruit? The scent of soil? You swirl the wine around in your glass. You notice the color and clarity. Then very slowly you take a small sip. You hold it in your mouth and savor the taste. That is the key word: savor. The wine not just something to drink. It has a past, a story, a process all its own. Producing a premium bottle of wine takes years and infinite patience. But the reward is sensational.
Savor your life. Live it with patience and grit. Because the reward is worth it every second of waiting.
“An excerpt from my book Prepping For Success: 10 Keys to Making it in Life
Visit www.PreppingForSuccess.com/book for more