Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 111: Pursue Patience, My Friend

"It's a jump to conclusions game!" Oh Office Space. This was one of my top quote 90s movies. Knowing that movie is like wearing a badge of honor, or I guess 127 pieces of flair.

The line came to mind as I'm reflecting on another aspect of my life, and perhaps yours, that directly clashes with the ability to stay curious.

It's impatience.

I was talking with a fellow Highlander today (if you're not sure what that is, it's someone who works at my company, Highland Solutions) who has decades on me in experience both in sales and general business and plays a key leadership role. First, and without any prompting on my part, he affirmed how curiosity has been a trait that stands out clear and is one that has benefited me at Highland. However, I quickly moved to my self-confessed impatience. See what I did there?

Anyway, he made a key observation about what my impatience does to my curiosity. He said that impatience will get in the way of my desire to learn, to ask questions, to get deep enough to satisfy the curiosity. I will want to arrive at the answer too quickly, to move on to something else, too feel like I've figured it out. In other words, I jump to conclusions.

While we were talking about me, I think this applies to anyone, especially people who are driven by learning and the pursuit of understanding. In a world that wants to "figure it out" and "do things as fast as possible," impatience can be held up as a virtue and thrown in the mix of other traits like hustle and grit. But what usually gets left behind are key questions that need to be asked, follow-up that needs to occur, and a willingness not to force the issue or grip too tightly to control – all key components to patience, wisdom, and of course curiosity.

I guess what I'm saying is that impatience and curiosity never mix well together, like hot dogs and ketchup (sadly there are too many of you out there that still don't get this). What I also learned today and implying by this are that curiosity and patience are actually like two pedals on a bicycle; they have to work in tandem to be most effective.

If you find yourself at a point in life where you "want to know more" or "want to understand" an instrument, a person, a business, a point in history, a financial system – whatever – pursue that interest. That's your curiosity. But also be aware that to achieve a real understanding, the pursuit of patience will be just as key.

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