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The Importance of Learning Patience

My nature has always been impulsive. I’m an ideas man. I’m the kid who had the bad idea; all the other kids told on me after they were caught in the doing. I’m good at coming up with bad ideas. Rash ideas. Ideas that ignore consequences. And I was always a master seller of those bad ideas with a simple pitch – “This will be fun.”

What I try to nurture in myself as an older man is a sense of patience. A quiet. The letting go of angst that has seen the younger me rage at inanimate objects, queues and repeat thoughtless mistakes that I’ve made on the fly. Because, looking back after the apocalypse-of-whatever-happened, my inner quiet mind nearly always had been whispering “Don’t do that.”

Which is part of my attraction to slow booze (making mead), slow photography (shooting film) and slow food (as opposed to impatient gimme-now commercialised soft and chewable food-glob provided by the profit-maximising marketing-slick corporations). I try to foster those aspects of my nature that facilitate patience.

This week leaves me with three examples of where my practice of patience has waned.

  1. On a cold night I left my one and only Paterson Developing tank in front of a heater to dry. The tube from the centre warped irretrievably.
  2. When I was given two replacement tanks through the local Freecycle I didn’t take time to see how they fit. The centre tube I was given was fractionally too long and I may have ruined a roll of my ANZAC Day medium format shoot.
  3. While fooling around with Megan I threw a pair of my glasses onto the floor, rather than storing them safely. I trod on them an hour later in the dark. Broken. The frame can’t be fixed.

All I’m saying is there are a lot of benefits to be had from fostering a quiet mind. The noted events are merely symptomatic that I’ve dropped the ball in that regard. I need to step back and think.

As a film photographer I’d explain what I’m talking about like this:

When I see a good shot it’s easy to just point and go snap. Photograph. But a patient photographer can see the photograph and consider the light, the perspective, the outlying characters and elements that are going to affect the frame. The slowed down photographer moves in (zooms) with his/her feet to get a more considered photograph.

Yes, sometimes the rash or the fast moving or the driven pay dividends. But don’t underestimate the quiet power of taking time to self-monitor with patience. After all, very few people are more effective at decision making by not thinking about the problem in front of them. Driven, or not.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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