Friday, July 29, 2016

Do You Know How to Wait?

Philosopher Joseph-Marie de Maistre said, “To know how to wait is the great secret of success.” 

Comedian Bob Hope would agree. "I grew up with six brothers," he said. "That's how I learned to dance, waiting to get into the bathroom."

Do you know how to wait? Whether or not you share a bathroom with others, you can get plenty of practice. 

A customer struck up a conversation with the clerk in a retail store. “Wow, $17.76,” he said. “The year of the American Declaration of Independence. And exactly 200 years later I was born.”

That began an intense conversation with the employee about interesting historical events. All the while a line formed behind him.

When the customer finally left, the next patron in line impatiently asked what was going on. “Oh, we were just sharing interesting historical fun facts,” the clerk said.

“Well, then," said the irritated customer, "can you tell me what happened the year I started waiting in line?"

As Mark Twain says, “All good things arrive to them that wait -- and don't die in the meantime.”

Do you know how to wait? I’m sure you get plenty of opportunities to practice.

After moving to the city, I grew impatient with the bumper-to-bumper traffic. I decided to keep a harmonica in the glove compartment, along with a beginner's book. When traffic was held up, I took out my harmonica and played. I figured I could either practice patience or practice the harmonica. The harmonica seemed like more fun. 

There’s a great secret to waiting patiently: make it fun. 

My life improved immeasurably when I discovered audiobooks. I know there’s value to being 100% present in everything you do, but I also know that a lot of what I do can be described as mind-numbingly dull. Like waiting in long lines. Commuting in city traffic. And if I’m into a great audiobook, none of it bothers me at all. I actually look forward to relaxing in a line or, when finding myself snarled in traffic, I can spend some uninterrupted time on my book. 

Like I said, there’s a secret to waiting patiently: make it fun. You just might look forward to your next traffic jam.

-- Steve Goodier

Photo: Goneaux