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Building a Life That Matters: The Correlation Between Patience and Success

Updated on February 18, 2018

An Alternative Viewpoint


One Example of Active Waiting

"Patience, by definition, means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can - working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!" - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

A great example of this is illustrated in the work of a dear friend and mentor of mine, Edward M. O'Keefe Ph.D. Dr. O'Keefe spent the better part of 22 years waiting to publish his first book. The reasons for the delay pale in comparison to the experience gained along the way - truly an exercise in enduring well. His life's work was finally published this year and you can check out the link to the review I wrote here. Take It From The Top: What To Do With a Peak Experience.

It would be lackluster for me to say that the patience demonstrated By Dr. O'Keefe to insure he got his message across as intended instead of early gratification is tantamount to the core principles involved in the art of patience as described above, but truth be told I believe that's exactly what Ed would say. As important as his work and book are, the benefit of waiting to produce it the way he wanted it and the way it would provide the most impact on the world was definitely worth the wait...or better said, worth the watchful waiting and diligent overseeing connected to its publication.

Patience, in my humble opinion, is the result of a certain practice and can only be displayed by those who embrace their demons as well as their positive qualities. (see photo for artistic view) Patience, therefore, has gained the status of virtue and is one of the most desired qualities to "Build a Life That Matters" and to the success of the individual able to demonstrate it, giving credence the old adage that "good things are worth waiting for." In today's world of instant gratification, that's often a hard sell for most people!

Patience and Impatience are both choices

Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all too-prevalent condition called "center of the universe" syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them and that all others are just supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf

While there are more examples of this type of behavior than I care to mention each one of us will recognize it when it appears before us because is so self absorbed that the universe will move aside to permit it to play out in front of us. Perhaps this is so to create a vivid contrast that we might recognize in ourselves a negative without value other than the lesson that accompanies it! And that, my friends, is where I choose to leave it!

A Most Difficult Road

I have to admit that this attribute, among all of the others I will discuss in this series, is and has been the most difficult for me to learn and practice. Even as a former Type A personality who has come an awfully long way on his journey towards wholeness, I still find myself lamenting over the difficulty in mastering techniques to improve my patience. It isn't so much tolerance at issue as it is the ability to endure willingly, to know when to hold onto a principle and when to hold onto it with an open esprit de corps, while persevering with the forbearance of nobility.

Having said that, I encourage my clients and friends and family, at least those who will listen, to value the art of patience and I do so with a great deal of compassion knowing how arduous a task it is to be patient in the truest sense of the word, to demonstrate a faith that goes beyond what we believe to be humanly possible, to understand that there are more factors in manifesting our dreams than we can see and to have the diligence and courage to promote other worthy causes while ours seems distantly faint, or even inactive sometimes. It is this balance of passion and pastoral prudence that draws to a close the most impressive achievements and allows the participants of such endeavors to proceed to the next mission with success, confidence and glee. "Rome was not built in a day" would be the battle cry of someone willing to pay the price of patience to see their dreams come to fruition.

It's Never Too Late to Learn

The Difference Maker

So what is the difference between those who succeed and those who fail? Author, businessman and philosopher Napoleon Hill said,"Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success." In his landmark work, "Think and Grow Rich" Mr. Hill's title hints at the value of patiently waiting. Thinking and growing are terms associated with the passing of time, a process. That's not to say either are painstakingly long, it just means there is a sort of "dutiful waiting period" associated with applying a process to the act of succeeding and part of that process is considering the importance of doing things in the right order at the right time for the right reason. That, would sum up the value of patience.

The antithesis of Mr. Hill's stated philosophy is characterized in this quip by comedian Jonathan Winters when he said, " I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it.

The cornerstone of my belief is that life, and virtually anything in it, is a choice. So it is with patience. We can choose to employ it as a tool for our ultimate success or avoid it, leading to our ultimate demise. In either case the choice belongs to us.

It is my wholehearted recommendation to students of life, that those interested in successfully navigating their time on this sphere, learn all they can about patience, its joys and long sufferings and how the development of the art of its practice enriches each moment of this journey we call life!

What will you decide?

Has this Hub given you enough pause to reconsider your view of patience?

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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Another great word -- diurnal. What would my life be like bereft of word play -- certainly a more constricted life and a less joyous one -- my mother taught me to love and enjoy words - the quintessential English teacher -- I was less charmed by her grammatical suggestions. :)

      Anyway, diurnal, excellent word, and excellent point about applying changes to our life. The body and mind are fearfully and wonderfully made. Off to the garden before the temperature rises. :)

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Thank you Theresa!

      You are a true teacher! In this short response you've taught me much about what I did not know. I saw in it, more of your authenticity and that is, as you say, very important.

      Speaking of the quotidian, (I had never seen that word before, but I learn) if we apply that diurnally we get to expand the consciousness even more. It's the same concept as raising our metabolism through building muscle. The design of the human body and mind are truly incredible and if we ever truly learn how to use it, think of the possibilities. I will say I think your family is very close to the edge on this one!

      Thank you so much for everything you are!


    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hellos jainismus,

      Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing this hub. I know culturally we are different in many ways but as humans I believe we have many more commonalities than we recognize. In my humble opinion it is those commonalities, when focused upon, which will bring a greater sense of joy and peace...and that focus, of course, requires patience.

      Thank you for coming, I look forward to reading some of your writing.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good morning Bruce. I suppose I may have mellowed more than I think (God's grace). First born, of an only child (mother who earned a Bachelor's in education in 1952) and firstborn (father who was an immigrant from Poland at the age of 16 -- having survived both the Nazi and Soviet invasions --joined the Air Force at 19). We were an intense high-achieving triad. lol Two of my three sons are Type A -- food for thought.

      I totally agree that small changes made on a quotidian bases (love that word and it isn't one that pops up too often in every day conversation) can have a significant impact. Here's to being our authentic selves, but being willing to round the edges and apply the sandpaper. Sorry, very mixed metaphors. :) Have a wonderful Sunday. Theresa

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi Theresa!

      Good to see you here again! I would not have pegged you as a type A. Perhaps I'm seeing the after 40 side. Through your response you have given me another tool to use. One of imagination. When we recognize those impatient times, perhaps that is the right time to substitute the times when we are super patient. The imagination can do grand things. But I think you've got the idea of reflection. Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing. I understand this isn't rocket science, but the little things, used daily or regularly can make a huge impact on this planet, even if it's in our own little world!


    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      5 years ago from Pune, India

      Great Hub, it is very useful for everybody. Shared with followers.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hello Bruce - Another excellent and well-balanced teaching essay. I am not bu nature a patient person - definitely a Type A, but after the age of forty I began to make serious efforts to move a little ways toward Type B.

      When it comes to patience for me it is not a me versus them sort of thing. Its very situational for me. There are some situations where I have infinite patience...others. not so much. And I am not sure why. Probably, if I would patiently reflect on the various situations, a pattern might emerge. Hmmmm....a need for patience in order to nuderstand why at times I am inclined to be impatient. Interesting. :)

      A great Hub. Hope al things are well. Blessings. Sharing. Theresa

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Thank you Eddy!

      I'm glad you are well and I hope you too, have a great weekend! Bliss and blessing be with you!


    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and some great pointers to remember. Have a great weekend.


    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi ladydeonne!

      It is good to have you back. I am very grateful for your time, comments and expertise. I believe that this is one of the many paradoxes of living. We often treat others much differently than we treat ourselves. I suppose we have fewer expectations of them than we do of ourselves. As I mentioned to Bill, many of us fail to love ourselves sufficiently and therefore we hold ourselves to a different standard than we do others. The same drive that causes achievement can also cause us to be impatient if the results, based on our expectations, are not realized when we want them to be.

      But I have to ask myself, do I want to be a great writer or will I only accept being a great writer now? If my answer is the former I place no limitations on myself other than diligently developing the craft and I do it joyfully. If I adopt the latter am I not focusing on two different goals? One is how and the other is when. I have now created an additional element to the original goal.

      I so appreciate your professionalism and I wish for you great patience, seeing only that which satisfies your inner being and leaving all other encumbrances with the universe to handle in its on unfathomable way!

      Thank You,

      And may peace always be in your heart and at your fingertips!

    • ladydeonne profile image

      Deonne Anderson 

      5 years ago from Florence, SC

      I can truly relate to billybuc as I too am very patient with people. As a Mental Health Therapist I had to be. On the other hand, I often become impatient with myself. At times I question my decisions because my writing is not at the level I wish, nor am I able to do as much of it as I'd like because of other responsibilities and commitments. This article has encouraged me to be more purposefully patient

    • Born2care2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Hi Bill and Thank You,

      Please allow me to bestow this blessing upon you. The key here is... waiting with a purpose! That's true patience. You, my friend, know your purpose as a teacher and writer. As a man, a human, your only responsibility is to love, first yourself, then others as you would love yourself. So be patient with that Bill. You are learning (and teaching) every day what loving yourself can accomplish. The patience required, the active waiting, is giving your self enough slack to enjoy what that love of self produces. You may never see it on the outside, but it's there and I would guess that there are many of your 1000's of followers who could describe it to you. Read over some of those comments and you will see.

      So my blessing on you is that you will progressively realize, as each day passes, that your being (you, your life and your spirit) are increasingly more loving, in every way and each day you are evolving and bringing people to a new knowledge of who they are, just by being Bill Holland...human being! There may be no greater patience than consciously observing this purpose emerge!

      As Abraham and Esther Hicks say, "There is great love here for you."


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Interesting read as always my friend. Patience is a tough one. I am so patient in some aspects of my life, and especially with other people. How could I have been a teacher without patience? Still, I find myself being incredibly impatient with myself and my progress as a writer. I need to learn to give myself a pass occasionally.

      Great job my friend.

      blessings always



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