The Patience Principle

Photo by Huffington Post

The NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers rookie Joel Embiid receives “trust the process” chants from the home crowd quite frequently during his free-throw attempts. Embiid is one of a few promising draft wins for a team that doesn’t promise many positive stats per season. I admit this humbly as a Sixers fan.

Suffering seasons of playoff disappearances coupled with a 2-year road to recovery from multiple foot surgeries for the phenom center Embiid, and the absence of immediate gratification for the current 13th-placed out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference is safely an understatement.

Where Philly fans have found their “yes we can” is in their collective recourse to “trust the process.


Process (n): a series of steps taken to achieve an end

The process is hardly ever an A to B endeavor; more often it’s A to B, around C, through D, over E, a little bit of F, awkwardly around G, and so on. It’s also infrequently an easy course and more like a painful path.

This process thing that occupies the space between draft day and champion (under-appreciated and promotion, injured and back at it, friend zone and first date) is outlined with verbs — steps and actions — to be taken and trusted-in with each forward, sideways, and back pedaled footstep.


Your id, as Freud would call it, itches to obtain all your urges, immediately. Overnight. Right now. He determined pleasure to be the driving force of the personality that demands for its most primitive desires. Failure to receive them opens the floodgates for stress and anxiety to seep in.

Pleasure’s many forms are no longer limited to our basic needs but can take the shape of increase, winning, wealth, attention, and healing. Who would want to wait for any of these wonderful things?

No one, that’s who.

However, in the time and effort it takes to work through steps and practices in the process of winning, earning wealth, and securing healing is the repetition of talent, accumulation of skills, and the strengthening of spirit.

Those who shortcut the process shallow their depth of self-discovery and have less incentive to reach back and pull another along. Their offerings of empathy are unable to connect in others’ most dire struggles.


Trust (v): believe in the reliability of

Trusting, in itself, is an action. Trusting in the process believes in the reliability of learning, exhibiting resilience, enduring, and earning. Its requisites are courage and responsibility, and its conquerors are visionaries.

In a Philadelphia arena, chants of “trust the process” resemble war cries of confidence from fellow overcomers and pledges of loyalty from fans in it for the long haul. Their reassurance for Embiid and Sixers ownership reinforces they’re supported and reinvigorates their fight.


When you trust the process, people take notice and rally along. You become hard to hate and a hero to the up and comers. Immediate anything is red-flagged and prolonged for further inspection. Patience begins to precede action, and clarity charts the course.

Patience in partnership with action provides the platform for a setback to become a set-up for success. Speeding past the process violates a system designed to serve our ability to reach our end triumphantly.

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The Way About You (WAY):

What’s the best payoff you experienced from trusting the process?

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