Patience Is One Of The Biggest Keys To Better Work

Lessons learned spreading butter at Starbucks.

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Whenever I go to Starbucks they serve me stone cold butter.

I swear to the heavens.

It’s almost like they just pulled it out of the blast freezer seconds before serving me my food.

It’s amazing because my hot bagel — my beautiful, crispy, warm package of goodness — normally gets cold as we wait for the butter to descend in temperature from Antarctica levels of freezing.

Clearly this is a gigantic problem and in no way first world problems, right?

All joking aside, the fact that my butter is always stone cold sort of annoys me. Well, it was in the act of spreading butter over a bagel the other day that gave me a huge life discovery.

Let’s talk about it.

Patience Can Lead To Much Easier Work

Normally I wrestle to the death with my butter. I seesaw it out of the packaging with my knife. Forget the fact that it sometimes flings out of the plastic and hits the ceiling.

Once seesawed it sits there in a solid rectangle of pure torture. If I try to cut a bit of butter off the side it just slides to the other side of my plate — or worse — my knife slips and strikes the plate with the force of a battering ram.

If the sound of metal colliding hard with a ceramic plate doesn’t attract the attention of LITERALLY EVERYBODY IN STARBUCKS then the butter shooting across the room at speeds that NASA scientists would be impressed by sure will.

Sometimes I’m so hungry that I hold the butter with my fingers and scrape cold bits of it out with my fork. Then I do what will literally send you to jail if you’re in France..

I take a bite of the croissant and then shove the cold, dense butter that’s on my fork directly into my piehole.

All because I’m hungry AF and don’t want to wait.

I could sit there like a normal human being and — I guess — wait. Yeah, I could do that. But this cat doesn’t know how to wait. I only know NOW, NOW, and even more NOW.

And that’s my biggest problem.

Recently, upon realizing I was some crazed lunatic, I did an experiment.

I wasn’t going to sit there and wrestle with fucking butter in front of 20 strangers. I decided to take a few sips of my coffee instead.

I watched people walking around outside.

I waited.

Then my girlfriend called me and I talked to her for five minutes. After we hung up, I realized my poor butter had sat alone on the tray for ten whole minutes.


I opened the packaging, picked up my knife, and braced for the moment of truth. The knife pierced the top of the butter and every muscle in my shoulder tightened at the same time expecting SPARTA-AT-THERMOPYLAE levels of resistance.

In the suspense I made eye contact with a Grandma who quickly looked back down at her newspaper.

To my surprise, the knife slid into the butter at such speed and grace that a tear nearly formed in my eye.

Now the Grandma was staring at me because I was getting emotional. Great.

With excitement growing, I picked out the butter from the plastic and began spreading it onto my bagel. A beautiful ribbon of butter formed right in front of my eyes. At this point I began full on crying.

As I put the bagel to my lips — tears streaming down my cheeks— the entire Starbucks store waited with baited breath.. I paused, shoved the bagel into my piehole (gently), and a smile formed across my weary face.

Then my Starbucks audience erupted in applause.

End scene.

Waiting Is More Powerful Than Forcing It

I hope you had a little fun reading that.

The moral of this poorly written story?

Well, the moral is that you could either spend five minutes struggling like hell to spread butter over a bagel..

Or you could wait five minutes until the butter’s warm and spread it easily.

They take about the same amount of time.

Sometimes patience is the only thing separating hard work from easy work.

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Vlogger. Travel blogger. 27 years old. Currently in the Philippines. Get my free 5-day Medium course via email →

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