Patience is a virtue that we all need in these difficult times. Patience with employees, with results not going as expected, with illnesses that emerge and so many others.
Therefore, what is patience?
I say that patience is waiting for the right time to act.
So much has been said about patience and its timing.
Arabs said from old times “time is like a sword for if you do not cut it shall cut you”. Interestingly, Arabs have the same word for patience and cactus. It is “sabr”.
Lao Tzu said,
Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
What Lao Tzu said makes sense. However, in complex systems, the clay shall never settle completely and so the water shall not be very clear. Complex systems are volatile with the rapidity of their change, with their uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Clay may not clear completely but may form patterns. Now, visualize complexity as the clay in water that settles to give patterns. It is the patterns that we need patience for these patterns to emerge indicating that random information has started to coalesce into some orderly information.
This realization is important because of the increased complexity of our world. Complex events that led to the spread of the coronavirus are one living example. The paradox is that we need to be patient, but also we need to save lives and to restore normal life. These needs pressurize us to act fast.
Patiencetime Is an emerging phenomenon
Spacetime is any mathematical model, which fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional manifold (Wikipedia).
It seems to me the same concept applies to patience in the emulation of spacetime. We need the patience space and time together to consider when to act. Patience is waiting for the time to act as I defined it. We need to consider the past, the present, and the future with time. I am still pondering on this idea.
Exponential pressures and exponential time
When people face a crisis, they demand quick actions. The harder the problem is, the greater the pressures are. It seems that we go from linear growth of pressure to an exponential one.
This urges the acting faster and faster as if we are in a race with time growing exponentially.
This is the risk if we lose patience that we take the wrong actions before the clay settles into patterns that guide our actions. Sometimes we need to know what not to do before knowing what to do. It takes courage to stand against the turbulent pressure and we may end worse than we started with.
These times are indeed testing times for our patience.