What’s the hurry?

There are many lessons to be learnt in life. Some take longer than others to master. For me, one of the hardest is patience. Patience is a nemesis that I still have to conquer. You could say that I am impatient to become the King of patience. The question is why am I like it?

Woodwork Class

I can vividly remember a time at school during a woodwork class. I was about seven years old and we had to carve a head out of a block of wood. My brother had already done this two years before, when he was seven. It was a great piece with clearly detailed features and was proudly displayed in the lounge by our parents. Now, woodwork did not appeal to me in the slightest but nevertheless, I set to work on the task in hand. I can’t remember how long it took me, before I proudly said to the teacher that I had finished. Well, his response when he saw my extremely minimalistic piece, was to ask what was my hurry and state that it was not a competition! My sense of achievement quickly became a sense of failure. Of course he was absolutely right and it didn’t take long for me to get that but I didn’t put much effort into improving my piece.

Into the future

Fast forward forty years and I am still very much in a hurry in certain scenarios, causing me uncomfortable reflection about this trait of mine. Recently, I was doing my annual exams for my cabin crew role. I have always put pressure on myself to do well in these assessments and for many years had a 100% pass record. When I dropped below that level for the first time, I was extremely upset and took a few weeks to get my head around it not being the end of the world. This year the structure of the exams changed and despite my preparations I failed one of them for the first time. One question was a silly mistake, the other two I could see why I had got them wrong and in fact one question was subsequently rewritten. However, the truth of the matter is I wanted to grade my exam so that it was over and didn’t take the time to check my answers. If I had reviewed my answers, I would have seen my mistakes and saved myself the sense of mortification and embarrassment of failing.

Seeing the pattern

So what is my hurry? I am starting to see a pattern. If it is something that I don’t enjoy such as woodwork, DIY, car maintenance or cleaning then I rush the task. If it’s something that makes me nervous or has an element of dread, such as exams and assessments, I seem to pick up the speed of a freight train and go at it like a bull in a china shop. I’m just not comfortable with being uncomfortable. But it’s not just things that I don’t enjoy. I love to read books and am not daunted by a hefty tome. For as long as I can remember, I have always monitored how many pages of the book I have left to read, whether it be a fifty page or five-hundred-page book. I can remember reading The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien at the same time as a friend of mine. We would compare daily with what page we were on and naturally this developed into a competition as to who would finish the book first. I don’t recall who did finish first, but I do remember not having much of a clue about what happened in the story because I scanned rather than read without allowing my imagination a chance to absorb the author’s words. Again, I can link that to early school reports stating that my reading capability was two years above my age group, both in language and speed. My fellow classmates had similar reports and of course we all exaggerated what was said in our individual ones. Being one of four children meant living in a competitive environment, particularly with my older brother. I was a terribly sore loser which my family delighted in antagonising me with, which only stimulated my competitiveness in everything I did.

In retrospect

As I grow older, I am beginning to learn the art of patience. I am so much better than I used to be but am still making rookie mistakes. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced rat race of life. Competition is healthy as long as one understands you can’t always be the winner but that you will always gain something from the experience. Even patience has its limit though. It’s important to be realistic. All the patience in the world will not influence something you desire to happen if you are on the wrong path to that goal. I guess it’s all about balance and the much sought after equilibrium we all seek in our lives.

About the author: Stuart Dickson’s passion for personal development began in September 2013, when he joined a Network Marketing Company.  Part of his development is increasing his spirituality and the many ways of doing this.  His first blog, Happy Monday People was born from a project that came about from his personal development journey facebook.com/Happylifepeople


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