Patience is not optional

We Americans are an impatient lot. We don’t like to be told no. It’s contrary to everything we’re told about fighting for the American Dream. Yet a virus doesn’t care no matter how hard you talk back to it.

With our economy turned upside down and inside out, our patience is being tested like never before (at least in most of our current lifetimes). Patience required to weather this storm. We can’t just fling our doors open and resume regular programming. We have to move slow. Slower than any of us want to. The unknown feeds the fear. And that feeds the impatience with getting back to normal. Whatever that normal may be.

Patience is not passive, on the contrary,
it is concentrated strength.

– Bruce Lee

Patience is no longer just a virtue. It’s required by all of us. Not the few. And that requires empathy. It requires thinking beyond yourself. There is no single leader able to deliver our world back. I understand why the protestors are starting to act out. They’re impatient. They’re fearful. Yet doing what they demand will extend our pain rather than cure it based on what science and the epidemiologists predict. They just don’t realize that. 

That’s where patience comes in. Patience in going slow to minimize a spike in infections and deaths. Patience in testing ways in which we can work productively and safely together. Patience in finding new ways of designing our workplaces to navigate this new world. Patience in finding ways to gather in restaurants and events that are not anxiety provoking. We need to trust that going out is safe.

I’m not the first to share these thoughts, but I find them helpful to remind me of my need for patience. None of us want to be quarantined. None of us want such economic upheaval foisted upon us. Yet we are here. And by being both patient and focused we will emerge. Just remember:

Slow and steady wins the race.


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