One day, as I was busy with some mundane activity, my son looked up at me and uttered “timing is everything”.
First, my jaw dropped. I was waiting for the rest of the prophecy, but that was it.
I was contemplating on whether he might be the next Einstein, until I realized he probably just heard that in a cartoon or maybe from some famous YouTuber I have never heard of.
So, I just accepted that little nuggets of wisdom come from unexpected sources at unexpected times.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”Ecclesiastes 3:1
The P Quotient
If you want to make a buzz, paste a Q behind something.
At first we only had the IQ, or ‘Intelligence Quotient’, which made a lot of people very unhappy and was somehow nowhere near to predicting who would be successful at work and in life. So we realized there are other “Qs” needed to get a better understanding of who and what we are.
Indeed, emotional intelligence – or EQ – is as critical to a successful life and (specifically) to leaders as is IQ, or even more so.
We did not leave it at that – there are those using the FQ or ‘Female Quotient’, as well as the LQ or ‘Love Quotient’. The first one makes the case for diversity, and the latter was invented by Jack Ma to capture the importance of the ability to express love towards oneself and others.
So let me pitch mine: the PQ or ‘Patience Quotient’ (I have not googled it, so forgive me if there is another human on this planet with about 7.7 billion humans who has had the same idea, it is quite likely to happen).
Nothing in life works out exactly the way we want it at the exact time we want it.
There is a strong case for patience, because armed with patience you will find out why the thing you wanted did not happen at that particular time and that when the time is ripe, something happens that is even better than you had imagined.
Patience gives you an edge, because it will give you a long-term perspective, an acceptance of life’s short-term events and disappointments and an understanding that whatever happens one should never close the door.
I specifically talk about “patience” rather than “persistence”, as persistence has in it an element of pushing for results even when things are perhaps not meant to be, or need to be further developed. “Patience” contains the acceptance that is needed to understand that things happen in their time. It contains both the intention and the detachment that is needed for things to take their natural course.
So whereas persistence and the broader concept of “grit” – a long-term outlook on a bigger goal combined with the discipline and self-control needed to achieve it – are arguably strong drivers of success, there is also a need at times to let go and to trust the process.
This is where “patience” comes in.
Why should you cultivate your patience?
Ideas mature over time. It would be great if every time we first try something, we immediately succeed.
Certain things just need more time – whether it is mastering a complex skill-set, or an ideation process and the transformation of such a conception into a viable product or service; whether it is simply meeting the right person to spend the rest of your life with or the right employer and position that will allow you to blossom.
Use that time to cultivate your patience and to enjoy the present moment more. After all, yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet arrived. This moment in time is all we will ever have.
Discover the silver lining of the clouds. It is nice to go through a series of quick wins – the ones you think of and then they immediately happen.
Yet, this offers little opportunity to learn. Do you ever take the time to analyze what went right? Of course not! If you succeed, you are happy and you move on to the next big thing. Rarely do we stand still to understand the specific dynamics that led to that success and how we can replicate it to other areas. Could it be that life throws in some frustrations for us to learn from?
Patience teaches us to understand the lessons in life’s experiences and to appreciate all of them for that. It allows us to truly appreciate that every cloud does have a silver lining.
Patience is the glue of relationships. The people who cross our paths do so for a reason and usually we discover the reason after the fact.
Networking is all about building relationships, about giving first and about genuine care and friendship. Usually, I first meet people and build those relationships, and later I find out why they are in my life.
Genuine networking or relationship building is not about finding an immediate interest or motive to be in contact with someone. Sometimes you might even have projects together with people and for some reason or other they don’t work out. Again, patience is key. Don’t end the relationship badly. Accept that this endeavor did not work out, but maintain a good relationship. You never know when you will meet again.
Who knows, maybe the timing was not quite right.
“Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons.”Mother Teresa
So be patient, your time will come.
Until it does, enjoy this time – this moment – and train your “patience” muscle. Who said happiness should be postponed or conditional?
As a parent you may recognize how scared young children are of doing something wrong, of being caught in the act. They are not actually afraid of the punishment, but of losing their parents’ love. Part of our job as a parent is to reassure them that while they may be punished for the act, parental love is unconditional. So why be different to ourselves? Our happiness is not conditional, contingent on achieving some future goal.
Life is a teacher and patience is the lesson.
Armed with this understanding, this patience, we will know that happiness is within reach all along – whether at the final destination or throughout the journey.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”Ernest Hemingway
About the Author
Lucy Schalkwijk is a women’s empowerment champion, a connector and a skills development enthusiast. She is passionate about connecting and empowering women in the workplace and writes about careers, networking, women’s empowerment, and leadership.
Want to join a tribe of successful women who have your back? Contact the Career Women’s Network Kigali: firstname.lastname@example.org and +250783719431.