Know how to wait. Wait as long as it takes for the seeds to sprout, for feelings to appear, and for facts to show signs. Everything has its time, its own rhythms, even if we refuse to accept it. In reality, if we stop and look around, everything is moving in one way or another. It is the flow of life. The creative impulse for change. The one who feeds on everything that happens to cultivate results.
Waiting is the time of boredom, idleness, impatience; but it is also the antechamber that houses the art of patience and the path of learning – sometimes voluntary and sometimes almost inconceivable. Thus, we can even say that the wait is the time of the duration of this desire which, we hope, will come to germinate. Bear its fruits. But with the force of calm instead of a brutal acceleration.
The chaos of living fast
Byung-Chul Han, a philosophical expert in cultural studies and professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, argues in his book, The Society of Fatigue, that the society of the 21st century is no longer a disciplinary society, but a society of performance, where the emphasis is on the power to do without limits.
Today we all want to do more in less time. We live fast – and under pressure – in a world of excessive stimuli. We are therefore more concerned with the results than with the road. The problem is, ignoring the actions we take and, rather, the way we do it, leads to physical, mental and professional burnout.
In addition, our perception is fragmented by so much stimulation. Now we are multitasking, we do everything and nothing at the same time. In fact, according to Byung-Chul Han, multitasking is not progress. Rather, it is a regression, as it prevents contemplation and deep attention. We live on top of it, on tiptoe, without immersing ourselves in the experience and with a hectic pace of life.
We no longer like to wait, we have a hard time being patient because we want everything instantly, immediately and impulsively, without being aware of the consequences. Stress, anxiety, depression, boredom or even experiencing discomfort while you are at rest. It bothers us that we don’t have to do anything because we are facing ourselves and we are not ready for it.
Boredom is an enemy, and when it manifests, we immediately look for something to do, something to occupy our time. In the midst of this turmoil, we forget that pure turmoil does not generate anything new and, at the same time, we lose the gift of listening, as philosopher Walter Benjamin asserts. In short, we get lost in a spiral of hyperactivity, stress and restlessness.
The pleasure of waiting
What would happen if we stopped? Would we discover something new if we slowed down? How would we feel? Indeed, stopping dry and suddenly interrupting our speed at the beginning frightens us. We cannot deny it. So, it can even hurt us, since we are used to immediacy.
Patience is an art that must be learned through training and tolerance in the face of ignorance and uncertainty. We panic when we are forced to wait. Not knowing what is going to happen or imagining that things may get out of our control is an idea that is unbearable to us. But it is obvious that at times it is impossible to avoid it. Let us not forget that patience is linked to being and its opposite, impatience, is linked to having.
Think for a moment how it feels to find yourself in a situation that is not your responsibility. But that makes you uncomfortable. Think about those times when you have a fight with someone you care about and who, because of what has happened, decides what is going to happen between you. Uncomfortable, isn’t it? How do you feel when someone makes you wait? Whether at work, in a relationship or in your family?
Waiting is a big challenge. And all the more if we take into account the fact that being patient is perceived as a weakness, because most of the time, we confuse it with the fact of being resigned or being apathetic. Now patience with conscience has nothing to do with it, rather it is courage and bravery, hope and long-term vision. It s about rebelling against the difficulty but in a way we are not used to.
Knowing how to wait is to protect yourself from the immediate eventuality and to be able to live through adverse situations without collapsing. Whoever has patience as a friend, knows very well the pitfalls of impulsivity and the consequences it can bring. He knows it because he has dominated his passions. His tendency to relentlessly seek pleasure and the need for immediacy.
Waiting teaches us that it is impossible and dangerous to control everything. Thinking in order to understand, prioritize are important attitudes, but also take time for yourself, to discover what you want and where you are going, to observe the path in perspective. And this is only possible through the practice of patience, that ability to evaluate carefully, to be calm, and not to be clouded by the noise of necessity and pleasure.
To be patient is not to let yourself be carried away by circumstances. It is knowing how to act at the right time. Choose and give up calmly. And learn at the pace of life.