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Discussion Forum > Waiting vs Being Patient

I've often believed that there was a "right time" to do things, which I suppose is Mark's "am I ready". But I have wondered when this becomes avoidance, laziness or a lack of motivation - all obstacles to movement.

My thoughts were re-kindled by some new-age philosophy that distinguished things this way:

"Waiting is stagnating and reinforcing discounting of yourself [choices] and reinforcing anticipation. Patience is an expression of trust of yourself in ... allowance - allowance of yourself, allowance of energy in a natural flow, and a trust within yourself."

I'm thinking this is connected to using intellect versus using intuition, but not able to reach a conclusion.

Be interested to hear further thoughts.
January 7, 2017 at 11:27 | Unregistered Commentermichael

One of the characteristics of FVP, both normal and fast versions, is that the algorithm will eventually lead you back to the root task. So there is an inevitability that something will get done once it is on the list.
January 7, 2017 at 18:29 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
The quote doesn't do it for me. I think I see what they're trying to say, but they didn't say it well. Mostly, I disagree with their definitions of patience and anticipation.

The usual definition of patience is "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset".

Anticipation is very different for something you want than for something you don't want.

Here's how I'd phrase it.

Sometimes, you have to wait for the right time to do things. How you wait makes a difference.

Unskillful waiting can include stagnating and reinforcing discounting of yourself [choices] and reinforcing negative anticipation, among other things. Skillful waiting requires trust of yourself in ... allowance - allowance of yourself, allowance of energy in a natural flow, and a trust within yourself.

(Yes, Buddhist influence. We all want to be happy. There are unskillful and skillful ways of trying to acheive it.)

Now, do I agree with that?

Stagnation, yep, unskillful. It is, however, possible to be patient (using the normal definition) while stagnating. If you don't want to change, then it's easy to wait, even if the end result of the change might be better.

Reinforcing discounting of yourself and your choices. Yep, also unskillful. Again, it's easy be patient about things that you think you'll do badly (although you might be impatient if you want to get it over with).

Anticipating depends on the activity. Anticpating something negative is unskillful if you ruminate. A small bit of anticipation can be helpful if it gives you incentive to do something useful.

Anticipating something positive is skillful if done in moderation. You're happy while anticipating. If you do too much, though, you risk missing out enjoying what's happening now, and creating other opportunities. Also, that good thing rarely makes you as happy as you expected. I'll finally be happy when... Being happy in the moment, while also working towards increasing happiness in the future, is more skillful.

Conditional anticipation is also skillful. If I study, I'll do better on the test.

So, I agree that stagnation and discounting is unskillful. Anticipation can be skillful or unskillful.

Now, is trusting yourself and allowing the natural flow of energy skillful? If that's how you wait for something that you can't influence, then yes, it's skillful, unless that flow of energy is making you unhappy. You're not wasting energy on things you can't change.

If you truly trust that method of deciding when to do something important, you won't be unhappy while waiting, but you might wait too long, which will result in being unhappy. So, in the bigger picture, very likely unskillful. (Trusting yourself too much when that method says to do something, at the expense of something that will make you even happier in the bigger picture, is also unskillful.)

Maybe it's because I don't trust myself. Most of us here don't. If we did, we wouldn't need systems to help us decide what to do. We've learned the hard way that we often don't feel like doing things that will increase our happiness overall, and do feel like doing things that won't.

It's still useful to look at the energy flow. Trying to work against that energy flow is futile. I usually end up procrastinating when I try. I think that's what Mark calls resistance, and he has lots of good advice about reducing it, including breaking things into smaller tasks, and taking a good look at the task and the goal.

Likewise, when that energy is flowing towards things that will make you happier overall, then it make sense to do them.

Sometimes, trusting yourself is the right thing to do, especially if you have good reason to expect something to be easier in the future. I do routine work better in the morning, and concentration work better in the afternoon. If I'm resisting something I don't normally resist, then there's probably a good reason, but not always, so I look into it before deciding whether to wait.

Overall, while I disagree with the word choices, and think it doesn't recognize the different types of anticipation, I do agree with the importance of trusting yourself (as long as you have a safety net) and respecting the natural energy flow.
January 10, 2017 at 22:22 | Registered CommenterCricket