Patience, Grasshopper

i.chzbgrThe younger generations might only know of the show “Kung Fu” through youtube videos. It was an off-beat 70’s Western-martial arts TV show about an orphaned Chinese-American Kung Fu expert looking for his half brother in the Old West. Flashbacks to his childhood show his martial arts training and how he came to be known as “Grasshopper”. Whenever he screwed up, his teacher would say to him, “Patience, Grasshopper.”

Patience is a difficult thing to master, and I’ve run across my own limits this week. My makeup is a complete and utter dichotomy that puzzles me no end. How can one person be such a walking contradiction? Split personality? No doubt. The trick is to learn what triggers me to be impatient, and what I can do about it.

This week I’ve been playing an online financial simulator game called Cash Flow. It was developed by Robert Kiyosaki to teach people financial literacy. The goal is to get out of the ‘rat race’ and onto the ‘fast track’. It’s sort of like Monopoly, but more real world. You land on different types of squares and draw cards that give you financial opportunities that you can purchase, or you can be downsized and lose turns.

Patient catWhat I’ve found out is this – I make stupid mistakes when I’ impatient and don’t take the time to really study the situations. In one game, I was so focused on the cash flow of a certain property that I totally missed that the property was overpriced. The result was that I owed the bank more on the loan than the money I was bringing in. The computer feedback was hilarious – a voice from a cartoon rat saying, “What did you do THAT for?”

In personal relationships, I can be patient to my own detriment. The problem with being too patient is that there comes a point with me where I AM DONE. No ifs, ands, or buts. Of course, the problem here is that perhaps I should have walked away much sooner. Live and learn.

The problem is that I have things to accomplish in my life, and I need other people to help me. John Baldoni writes,

Patient leaders are not pacifists per se; they are often activists by nature. They are more like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who quipped, “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.”

Such leaders want to make things happen. And they act for the good of the team. But along the way they have learned that too much action is really inaction. Never mistake activity for productivity. And so it behooves us to slow things down and control what we can control.

That’s what I have to learn – to control what I can and let the rest go. And then be patient until I get my way in the end. In this case, that will be reaching my many goals I’ve set for myself. Still don’t want to be patient, but what choice do I have?

Happy Monday! Oh, and pardon the French, but this is exactly how I feel:

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