Impatience as Greed

                   There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: impatience and laziness.  Franz Kafka

At my father’s funeral many years ago his friend Sonny came up to me and said, “You know, Bob was the kind of guy who would turn right on red even if he wasn’t going that way, just to keep moving.”  It was so true.  Dad and I had worked together for 15 years and, of course, he’d been around my entire life.  He was a very impatient man.

Not long after this I was playing golf when another old friend of the family was in his back yard tending his flower bed full of impatiens.  Marshall, the friend, asked me, “Do you know what I call those flowers?”  No, I replied.  “Caldwell’s.”  So, due to his temperament, Dad had a flower named after him.

Impatience is the inability to endure frustration or annoyance without expressing anger or negativity.  I recognize it in me, do you?  If I’m not getting my way in traffic or in line, I want things to be different, right now.  My time is more valuable than your’s; my needs should be put ahead of those of anyone else stuck in the annoying, frustrating situation.  In short,  I am greedy, which, by the way, is one of the 7 cardinal sins.

These times test our patience.  Annoyances and frustrations are staples of the modern day.  I have the bad habit of reading political articles and opinion in the morning.  It is not helpful for my mood and there’s nothing in the short run I can do about it.  I take in the information and disturb myself and don’t have an outlet for it.  The temptation then is to take it out on those around me.

The Japanese word, wa, has the meaning of harmony and peace.  I think of it often when confronted with something that upsets me.  This is upsetting my wa, how can I change that?  Holidays are coming, it’s the perfect time to make a start at finding our wa because we’ll have plenty of opportunity to test it out.  Wa is as close as the next breath and found only there.

Take a breath.  Breathe.  Let the tension of the moment melt away with the inhale and exhale.  As the Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells us: It is in the ability to pause between stimulus and response and choose that real freedom lies.  Let’s choose wisely this holiday season.  There is much that we do not and cannot control, but choosing our response is one thing we can do, and it is all that is necessary.

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About MentorBoom

It's been the blessing of my life to receive the teaching and friendship of some extraordinary people. I want that wisdom to outlive me by sharing it with others. MentorBoom, is intended to do that and to help us all find ways to live more satisfying and fulfilling lives.
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5 Responses to Impatience as Greed

  1. dwg2010 says:

    very nice comments, Robert.

    A moment ago a client asked, so what are you thankful for in this season of Thanksgiving? Then I read Jim Rohn’s newsletter in my inbox. They asked the same question. My answer was “health, family, and exhaling…”

    Perhaps there is an ancient need to observe the seasons and respond with patience and generosity… Thank you for naming them- “impatience and greed.”

  2. The last paragraph is very poignant – well, the entire post is, but what Viktor Frankl says really touched me.

  3. Thanks Diane, yes, Frankl’s statement has a powerful meaning that deepens over time with contemplation of what he’s saying. We have the opportunity to pause, if we only will, at any time, and so few of us do. A variation of the phrase I’ve heard in the coaching/consulting world is that “S/he who can pause between stimulus and response and choose will be the leader in any given situation.”

  4. June Neumann says:

    Such a good thing to remember – always. And it always does surprise me when you demonstrate impatience because being impatient doesn’t really fit with how I visualize you however, we all have our own monkey minds to mind! Thank you, Robert, nicely said!

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