My 1st Grade Teacher’s Motto: “Patience Is A Virtue”

“Mrs. Dew, CAN I PLAY WITH THE TOYS?”

That was me. First grade. Back when I owned the world. I could play with whatever toys I wanted. All the old people would have to listen to my words. Holy, I was a kid and they were going to have to listen to me. The Lego Bricks would appear at my feet within 30 seconds of my asking or all hell would break loose.

“No.”

But Mrs. Dew wasn’t some pushover. It probably had something to do with her being an elementary school teacher for over 30 years…After the first day of hearing all the whining and crying for toys, she sat the class down on the carpet. She clapped her hands together (TA-TA- tata-TA*) and shut us all up.

The elementary school carpet is an invention of diabolical genius. Name a better way to get kids to sit still in one place.
“Class. Remember. Patience is a virtue.”

That was a line that was hammered into my head. Over and over. I heard it all through my first grade year, then through my second grade year when she was my teacher again, then again through the third grade year when Mrs. Dew was a substitute teacher.

So all of elementary school, “patience is a virtue” was stuck in my head. I was being psychologically conditioned and subliminally implanted to barf this out of my head. Once a teacher asked for the definition of “patience”, and I distinctly remember screaming out “A VIRTUE!”

It’s a shame I didn’t understand what the word “virtue” meant as a 6 year old.

But now that I know what “virtue” means (good trait), I find myself wondering about my definition of ‘patience’. What does it really mean?

A quick Google search defines patience as:

“ the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

Not bad. We’re off to a good start. I’m a big fan of the last part here, where you can act “without getting angry or upset”. The first part? Ehh not so much.

If I choose to “accept and tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering”, does that mean I just sit down and take whatever hit that comes my way? If I just accept whatever happens to me, does that mean I just sit down and wait for good things to happen to me?

That seems to be the most common definition of patience floating around out there. Patience = Waiting.

Of course, that’s great if you’re standing in a line at Tim Hortons. When the lady in front of you is counting out 40 nickels to pay for her double-double, then yes, be patient. Have the ability to wait without freaking out, sweeping her nickels aside, and ripping out the $5 bill from her wallet. Be patient.

But what happens when you apply that definition to the big picture? To life? To happiness / success / to whatever big things you want in your life. We are told to be “patient”, but that “wait and see” approach doesn’t seem to be effective.

I mean you can wait 5–10 years for that magical opportunity to float by you. It *might happen. Maybe. Sometimes? Doubtful.

Now, I’m a big believer in the idea of setting yourself up for those opportunities. Of creating them and hunting them down. If I just sit down on a bench and wait for my dream job to walk up to me, shake my hand, and pay me, I’m going to be waiting for a really, really, long time.

So in this line of thought, there’s a beautiful quote that I want to share with you. It’s one that I’m obsessed with and have been shoving down the throats of some of my close friends.

“Macro patience, micro speed”

This one is from Gary Vaynerchuk, who is one the biggest names out there in marketing and owns his multi-million dollar business Vaynermedia. He thinks long-term and if there’s anyone in the world who knows about patience, it’s him.

To share what it means, macro patience is the idea that you big goals in life. The business goals. The career. The family and happiness. You have to be patient and wait for those to happen, on a scale of 5–10 years.

But he counters that with the idea of micro speed. That means you aren’t just sitting down and waiting for the good stuff to happen. This means that every single day, you are executing. You are taking the small decisions and actions every single day that push you toward your goal.

If I want to be a be a writer, am I writing consistently? If I want to be fluent in Spanish, am I putting in my 15–30 minutes every single day? If I want my business to be successful, am I sending those emails and following-up like I should be? It’s going to be a long time before any of these goals are accomplished, but I know that every day I’m going to be taking a step in the right direction.

Sitting around never got anyone anywhere.

Patience is a virtue. Just make sure you know what patience really means :)