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Patience - In Macro, Yes; In Micro, No

A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:

"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."

"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."

I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.

Musings on Fear and Expectations

On DROdio

I may be one of the few people who would argue that much of the world revolves around fear and expectations, but let me try to present the argument to you.

First, the part on fear.

Fear plays a major, major role in all of our lives.  In fact, it's kind of like an invisible friend that follows you around wherever you go.  Every single decision you make has some element of fear attached to it.  When I say that, I mean that fear played some part in the decision making process.  While that may not be a huge deal, the huge deal is that we rarely acknowledge its participation in the decision making process.

Fear is like gravity.  It's always there, and we get used to it.  Fear sometimes spurs people into action, and other times withholds people from acting.

Like I said, every decision we make has an element of "fearsomeness" consideration. Do you turn left on the yellow light or wait?  What if a police man sees you?  What if you get hit?  But what if the car behind you thinks you're going to pull through the light and they hit you from behind?   All elements of fear.  That's an easy example, but what about the more subtle ways fear affects us. Some people grow up with parents that tell them 'you can be anything you want to be.'  Others have parents who say 'you have to be a doctor (or lawyer or XYZ) to carry on the family tradition.'  The fear that the child won't honor the heritage of the family dictates that whole person's life.  Imagine!  One simple emotion dictating a person's entire life.  If that's not deep-in-your-gut, mind blowingly significant I don't know what is.  And few people face their fears!  Instead we mask fear by other terms.  "She's just shy"  or "I'm just not good at [insert skill]."  For example, being a telesales representative is not an easy job.  I've rarely seen fear show its face so clearly as when you put a phone in front of someone and ask them to start cold-calling.  Few people can stand up to the constant rejection.   Oh, and how about public speaking?  How many people would rather die than speak in front of an audience (literally - studies show many people  would rather die!).

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