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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.

The Race

On Tynan

There's a race going on, but it's not an ordinary marathon. First of all, it's not a mere twenty six point two miles long. We don't know how long it is because we can't see that far; no one has been to the end of the course yet. And, really, it's more of a relay race than a marathon. The entire history of mankind has been running it, passing the baton to future generations. And now the baton has been passed to us, and we're on the course.

Even though we're all entered into the race-- every single one of us-- not all of us are running. Some people are sitting on the side of the road. As you run by, you can see them, staring at the sky with a glazed over look, completely oblivious of the honor that has been passed down to them.

Other people are on the road, but they're walking. They're zigzagging all over the road, but going in the right direction. They'll never make it to the end of the road. Neither will anyone else, but the irony is that the walkers are the only group who DOES think that they'll make it to the end. They have no idea how long the road actually is, so they figure they've got all the time in the world. Walk a bit this way, walk a bit that way, sit down with the sitters for a few minutes, start walking again.

Along the road, also, are joggers. They're mostly running in packs. Whenever one of them starts to get ahead of the group, the rest of them yell at him and he slows down and rejoins the pack. The packs of joggers are like soldiers, plodding away as a big unit. They won't make it to the end either. They know it, but they've accepted it. Just keep jogging, stick with your pack, make it as far as you can.

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