Monday, December 28, 2009

Max - My Role Model for PATIENCE

My favorite definition for patience: the willingness to wait until the best time to take action.

The hard thing about patience is that most of us don't want to wait. We want to say something NOW. We want to do something NOW. We want results NOW. When your need is great, it's all too easy to keep pushing for something, even if it's impossible to get what you want right away.

Now I'm not saying you should put things off, procrastinate. The key to patience is knowing when there's a chance that taking action will get you what you want, and when it won't. This little bit of wisdom has saved me a ton of wasted effort over the years.

My role model for patience was - and I'm not kidding about this - a cat.

His name was Max, a male brown tabby. All of our cats have been sweet, but Max was my buddy. Whenever I was in my chair reading or watching TV, Max was right next to me in his spot. And he really did watch TV. He liked nature programs, especially about birds and other animals in the wild.

Here's why Max was my role model for patience. I fed him and Ernest at 5:00 PM every day. I knew he was hungry because he would sit next to my desk, quietly looking up at me. Most days, he wouldn't say a word until 5 o'clock. And then, if I forgot to get up from my desk on time, he would stand up on his back legs and tap me twice on the left shoulder with his paw.

If he said something before 5 o'clock, I simply looked at him and said, "It's not time." I knew he was hungry. Everybody gets hungry before dinner time. He could have persisted with his complaints every two minutes until I finally fed him, but he didn't. Somehow he knew that it's not time yet, so he waited. That saying something or doing something before it's time would be futile. Instead, he continued his silent vigil, not saying a word until 5 o'clock. In my book, that's patience.

I admired him for that. He inspired me. If he could do it, I can do it. 

More about patience...

More about Max...

Loving memories of Max after his passing...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Photo by Kathleen Scott, used with her permission)


Ivana Sendecka said...

Super cool Denny,
indeed we are having teachers all around us, we just need to be open enough in order to watch them, learn from them and evolve;-)
Keep up the great work you do on this blog
cheers from Slovakia

Carl Harris said...

Nice post, Denny.

I can't remember the source of this quote but I like it 'in order to be a success in life we need to be good at something most people find difficult to do'.

Being a success at something most of us find difficult to do takes patience for sure - particularly if you want to do it ethically and without wasting buckets of money on impulsive quick-fix ideas.

No matter what we do it will take time to do properly so maybe impatience with a thing is a sign we're doing something we don't really want to do?

Hodgesb said...

I'm with you Denny, I aspire to have many qualities of our cats. Patience, relaxation technique, leaping skills, the abality to get someone to pet me when I want/need it, and If I think about it there are many, many more.
Thanks for the great post !

nice said...

Patience is indeed a virtue that's not easy to learn, and to learn it from a cat... touching!

Unknown said...

Can your cat have a word with my cat??

A Morning Grouch said...

I needed this today. Thanks :)