Patience…the secret to happiness?

Tomiadesina_
3 min readJan 31, 2019

I hate waiting. If there were an award for the world’s most impatient person, I am convinced that I would be the champion.

I remember searching for an internship early in February last year, and all my available options were conditional. I revamped my resume and completed more mock interviews, but all seemed lost. As the days passed, I became more reluctant to engage with new recruiters or even talk about internships with my friends. I just felt tired. Nevertheless, I remained engaged and followed up on my options.

By June, I received an email detailing an exciting opportunity to work in a Strategy and Operations role. The position was something I always wanted, but I never quite understood how to get it. I had an excellent manager and got involved in exciting projects. It turned out to be my best internship experience so far. This experience made me appreciate the benefit of patience.

Reflecting on this experience made me question why I felt worked up in the first place. I realised a few things:

I had convinced myself to be unhappy, making me angry and ultimately stressed. I needed to understand that worries happen in my mind. They are my feelings or perspective of reality and, ultimately, within my circle of influence. Why would I choose unhappiness, anger, and stress? With patience, there is calm.

Patience can be a difficult experience, but once conquered, you will find life is easier. -Catherine Pulsifer

None of my negative feelings changed my situation; I still need to wait whether I chose to be patient or not. Good things need time to mature. It is like eating raw rice because you cannot wait for it to boil. But the bliss of patience is supreme. I would never have planned to work in strategy and operations; I did not even know it existed. It turns out that the HR manager was busy searching for opportunities for me to learn and grow based on my skills and interests. Then she found this newly formed department that fit the description and connected me to my manager.

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I got what I wanted, and it was not directly from anything I schemed. today’s world is filled with high achievers, and chances are, I also have big dreams and aspirations (and that is fantastic). However, today’s world is VUCA; Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. When I came to terms with the fact that things change and nothing is for sure, practising patience became easier.

A simple solution to thrive in this VUCA world is to VUCA right back. That stands for realigning your Vision for yourself, finding more Understanding to navigate the uncertainty, gaining Clarity of the complex nature of the world, and being Agile. Expect the world to be VUCA, be ready for surprises (even the not-so-nice ones), and let time work its magic.

It is important to mention that patience does not mean being complacent. Patience works together with hard work and persistence. Even in my frustration, I signed up for conversations with the career development team at my University for advice on how to engage better with recruiters. I ensured regular communication with the HR manager. Throughout the process, I was clear about what I wanted and open to new options.

Patience is what allows the fruits of our hard work and persistence to flourish. -Tiffany Eaton

I have learned that patience is relevant in every sphere of life, whether in relationships, at work, within a family, or on personal projects. Choose patience, and you will be surprised how much better life can get.

My friend Melissa put it simply, “ Work diligently even when nothing seems to be working, and you will enjoy the fruits of persistence as time goes on”.

Patience is a life skill, and those who master it have everything.

Reflection questions

  1. Where do I lack patience the most?
  2. What can I be patient about this week?

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