Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Quoting Shakespeare in a blog is a very bad sign of showing off or despair at having nothing to say.

I wrote about boredom recently. Now it’s patience.

Living, as we do, in a “get-it-done, hurry-hurry, want-it-right-now” world, patience is in short supply but, as we heard as children, the longer you wait the better it is (which I’ve never really believed myself.)

A friend of mine who’s been looking for premises for his business has been thwarted and gazumped on a number of occasions with the “perfect” place seized from his grasp. He was feeling understandably paranoid. Sleepless one night, he remembered a street which had a perfect site. He strolled there the next day and there it was “To Let”. Hopefully this story will end well but the point was this is. In every respect it’s “a much more perfect site” than the others were.

Psychologists warn against trying to make decisions too fast. Better to wait and think and see what comes up. Better decisions tend to come at their own pace not ours. I recall that splendid direction from an Irishman who said:

See…. you drive along here and turn left and you go up that road a certain distance and you come to another road where you turn left…

I love a “certain distance”. It describes perfectly a sense of time, judgement and patience.

But acting like the children we once were we constantly ask “are we there yet?” We want instant world peace, we want instant female bishops, we want instant everything. We want crime novels called “The Butler Did It”. And we want to apply all our intuitive prejudices like a friend of my wife’s who on being accused of being instantly judgemental and prejudiced said “yes, but it saves so much time.

Patience works best in cooking. And here the metaphor for life and business is brilliantly painted by Anthony Bourdain in his riveting “Les Halles Cookbook.” He spends a lot of time talking about “prep” and how this patient process is the critical one:

There is something really great about transforming a big heap of raw materials into an organised array of useful foodstuffs…working at one’s own pace, one attains a relaxing, almost Zen-like state of calm. From chaos one surely but slowly creates order.

Patience applies to recuperation too. Another good friend had major surgery on her back and has been temporarily disabled. Sadly no cartwheeling for her for a while (unlike the late great Talulah Bankhead who, it is said, used to cartwheel through the reception of the Plaza in New York without any knickers.) My friend being patient in her convalescence has become the best read girl in Britain.

Which goes to show the benefits of patience are in allowing you the time to get it read, letting it cook properly and focusing on what’s right not just what’s now.

Patience isn’t easy but you’ll make fewer mistakes if you think first. And wait.

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