Wednesday, January 6, 2016

1.35 Seconds

“The 3 P’s of Success: Passion, Persistence, and Patience.” 
Doug Bronson


Passion? Check. Persistence? Check. Patience? Umm...I may well be the world’s most impatient man. This has long been a flaw within me, one about which I’ve always been acutely aware. Even when I do not recognize it within myself, I have a plethora of family and friends happy to remind me of this rather obvious flaw on a regular basis. Although I am not typically one to make formal New Year’s resolutions, living my life as a more patient human being would be one well worth considering. In addition, many of my PLN members have been sharing their #oneword for 2016 in recent posts, something that has become an annual tradition for some. When first asked what my #oneword was in a previous year, I responded quickly with my stock answer: “Passion.” This year, however, I feel the need to consider the much less glamorous and rather more pedestrian: “Patience.” Moving from “passion” to “patience” is due, in part, to a recent realization that my impatience with all things in life had reached a level of ridiculous proportions.


For the past two years, I have lived in a high rise condominium. Thankfully, I am only on the 8th floor; were I to reside on the uppermost floors, I would likely lose all semblance of sanity waiting for the elevator to reach its lofty destination. Still, even on the 8th floor, my impatience manages to get the best of me most days. I began noticing something especially troubling. It happens when I am on the elevator and it stops at another floor, allowing someone to join me for the ride. One of two things happens next: Sometimes this new passenger immediately pushes the “close doors” button. Other times, the new passenger will simply board and wait for the doors to close automatically. In the former scenario, the doors close more immediately and I find myself secretly congratulating this savvy fellow traveler; in the latter instance, I find myself mildly agitated at the precious time being wasted and silently rebuke this careless, time-wasting neighbor or visitor. Occasionally, I would even reach over and push the “close doors” button myself in an effort to expedite this painful process. After all, there was work to be done, people to see, places to go; who were these frivolous people who could nonchalantly allow precious time to pass so idly? 




Then, over the holiday break--a time when I find myself acting with just a tad more patience than is typical for me--I realized my annoyance in this regard bordered on the insane. I decided to actually measure the difference between the two scenarios, hoping to justify this insanity. Using the stopwatch on my phone, I learned that it took a whopping 2.65 seconds for the doors to close and the car to begin moving when I did nothing at all, other than allow the doors to close on their own. Next, I timed how long it took these same doors to close when I pushed the “close doors” button immediately upon stepping onto the elevator. The answer: 1.3 seconds. I was saving a precious 1.35 seconds each time I, or a fellow passenger, took the proactive stance of pushing this button. 1.35 seconds.


Like many of you, I am extremely busy on a daily basis. In fact, I am acquainted with no fellow educator who complains about having too much free time at work. There is always work to be done and always too little time in which to do it. Still, 1.35 seconds? Did I really need to worry about “wasting” 1.35 seconds? Starting today, I am going to work on being just a bit more patient in all areas of my life: with colleagues, with family members, with parents, with myself, with the important work we are doing, and...who knows, maybe I'll even chill on my future elevator rides. “Patience” may not become my #oneword, but I aim to give it equal importance next to the other two “P” words from the quote above which I have long prided myself on, “Passion” and “Persistence.”

Being passionate as an educator is almost always an attractive trait; I enjoy being surrounded by educators who are truly passionate about the kids they teach and the content they are responsible for teaching. However, like most good things in life, carried to an extreme, passion can become a negative, transforming into anger, or at least behaviors perceived by others as anger. Being persistent, too, is generally an excellent trait to seek in prospective educators and promote within all educators. Here again, though, we can become so focused on reaching our goal that we risk losing sight of the bigger picture. So, it is important to balance our passion and persistence with a healthy dose of patience, knowing all the while that change may not occur as swiftly as we would like and we may never have enough time to accomplish all with which we are charged. At the same time, when we persist--with passion and patience--we know we will eventually see the fruits of our labor. I will continue to make the most of every minute available to me in this new year. On the other hand, if I am faced with the occasional 1.35 seconds of idleness every now and again, I am going to embrace those moments as well. Exhibiting passion, persistence, and patience, each in its proper measure is another way we Teach, Learn, and Lead with Passion!



18 comments:

  1. Jeff, as I read this I find myself thinking about the instances of road rage, dirty looks in the grocery stores, and more... which happen over the SMALLEST of things! Patience is something that we've lost as a society, and it's something we have to exercise, just like our muscles. I loved reading your "lesson" and I can't wait to read about how patience has rewarded you in the new year.
    Best,
    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I love your idea that we have to "exercise" patience. I think you are correct; if we do not intentionally focus on growing in this area, our intended "passion" becomes misdirected and counterproductive. Thanks again; best, Jeff

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  2. Great post. I enjoyed reading this. I will be watching you when we are on an elevator together from now on.

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    1. Anthony,
      Thanks for reading and commenting....and for holding me accountable!
      Jeff

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  3. Dr. Zoul,

    When I saw the title I thought you were going in a different direction. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the focus was patience.

    I believe I would have been an individual that would have annoyed you. I don't typically push the close door button. When you conducted your own investigation and found it to be only 1.35 seconds I'll admit, I thought it would have been longer.

    I appreciate your post and your openness. I think we all have individual characteristics that we can work on to be our best. I wish you the best with your increased focus on patience...especially when the Cubs begin playing again : )

    Thanks for the share, Jeff!

    -Ben

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    1. Ben,
      Thanks for reading and commenting! Thanks also for your good wishes for me to improve in this important area; I need to!
      Jeff

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  4. Jeff,

    I thoroughly appreciated what you've shared here, particularly about the elevator. The very best leaders and educators exhibit a healthy balance of patience and tenacity...and it's never easy.

    You reminded me of a mantra I have found myself saying to the basketball teams I've coached over the years: "Slow...is fast." When our players start getting ahead of themselves, losing focus of court awareness and the individual fundamentals that support the overall success of the team.

    Stopping to recalibrate our purpose is important, as is taking a breath. It's good for us as school leaders, basketball coaches, educators, and people. And whether that happens on in elevator, on a basketball court, or somewhere else, it's just important that we find time for it to occur.

    Thanks for sharing this post!

    ~ Dennis

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    1. Dennis,
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I love your "slow..is fast" mantra and the meaning attached to it. When I coached bball myself, we often employed a strategy of scoring either as fast as we could or as slow as we could, meaning if we did not get the quick 2 on our fast break, we would then pull it out and be as deliberate as possible. So many sports analogies apply to our work as teachers and leaders, in my opinion. Thanks again, Dennis; best,
      Jeff

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  5. Jeff,

    I love the elevator zen moment! I am working on patience in the sense of being present in the moment. I am finding that I have to work at slowing down. Patience has always been an area of weakness in my life, but I am growing in this area both personally and professionally. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Sanee,
      I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! I think you point out a very specific area related to patience that many of us need to work on (I know I do). The cause is likely because we all are so busy, yet it is imperative (and, in the end, actually time saving, I think) that we are present for each other and our work "in the moment." Thanks again; Best,
      Jeff

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  6. Excellent observations. I have worked on patience most of my adult life (no small
    feat!). I read something last year that made me reconsider how I see others. The main point was that everyone is seeking their own happiness. We should remember that. People aren't trying to hold up the line, cut me off in traffic, take the last salad from the case at Starbucks to upset me.

    So I breathe, try to be patient and remember that everyone is trying to find their happiness.

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    1. Amy,
      Thanks for reading and commenting; I love what you shared here! Honestly, I was thinking of some awesome feedback you gave me one time last year when I wrote this; thanks for that, too. Best,
      Jeff

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  7. Jeff,
    Love, Love, Love this lesson you shared, as well as the reminder that too much of a good thing isn't always good. Very well stated. It does take all of these to be balanced, and boy does that take hard work!

    What a great post! I love the added picture touch! :) This really hit home with me, because patience is something I work on constantly. I could completely connect with having passion and persistence, but patience takes me quite the extra practice. This made me more aware of my need to slow down. Thank you for sharing and teaching others. :)

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    1. Bridget, Thank you so much for reading and weighing in! So true that some of our good traits can work against us when carried to extremes and/or without balance! I appreciate all you do; happy friday! Jeff

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  8. Hi Jeff,

    Patience is easy to say, but hard to do! Thanks for sharing your own personal journey with patience and for the #oneword idea for the new year!

    Kristen

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kristen. Hard to do for me, for sure. Working on it. All the best in 2016! Jeff

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  9. This blog post really spoke to me!! I think patience is a problem that a lot of adults struggle with daily. It especially brings to mind drivers who just have to speed up to get through that yellow light. Time is precious to us and we want to spend it doing things we enjoy. This is why we want to be as efficient as possible with less desirable tasks.

    Like you, I also am working to be more patient every day and have gotten better in the past few years. I've found that being patient really helps eliminate stress and anxiety, which makes us happier! :)

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    1. Thanks, April, for reading and commenting. I am guilty of impatient driving, too, I fear. I agree with you that being impatient can actually be detrimental to one's happiness and I am working to do better in 2016! Thanks again, Jeff

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