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