Being too patient

The reason why the word "busy" irritates me is because being busy never ensures success. We can spend 10 straight hours slaving away at something, but can find that the work didn't amount to very much. We take several stabs at things - and all the stabs are like punching the air. There is never much contact - never much force - never much follow through that ensures fruit. Sometimes we can be overly patient. Sometimes we can become too mature about things. Sometimes we can become so used to sowing - and not accustomed to seeing results. Sometimes we can be moving 5 steps backwards in the name of "waiting." I would suggest that this is not waiting - this is just not being very effective or intelligent.

We have to get down to the heart of the matter. We have to desire contact with something. Most of us do not have many experiences of real contact. We sow and sow, and sometimes we never reap. We need to ask the better questions. We need to ask the questions that will make our inquiry grossly uncomfortable. What if all the sowing is in vain. After all, working hard does not guarantee anything. But working smart guarantees plenty. Kobe Bryant (yes I went there again) learned a huge lesson from Phil Jackson upon Phil's first year as his head coach. Phil Jackson knew that Kobe was the hardest working player ever - MJ included. But the wise Zen master knew that his young player wouldn't be the best based on his work ethic alone. He knew that the very nature of his game and the way he thought about the game had to be changed. Kobe said the first thing Phil told him was: "It's not how hard you play the game. You can go out there and work until you are dead - but that doesn't win championships. It's how smart you the play the game."

This game of life can be played beautifully. As an immigrant, I know the mentality of just giving your everything to whatever you do. I don't believe in this. I don't believe in this because most of my family and friends are not living their fullest life. They are not living up to their God-given potential. This is not a result of poor work ethic - this is because they don't work smart - their actions don't have real impact because they are boxing the air. They are shooting at baskets that won't award them points. Imagine being the best 3-point shooter and making every single shot you take - but finding out that each shot deducts 3 points rather than awards 3 points.

Since life is short, our patience must not outlast our destiny. There are times that are urgent and require ephemeral attention spans. Americans have this down very well - as so many other countries. We must highlight the areas that we have just waited too long. Slow and steady does win the race, but some of us are slower than slow - we are motionless. I want us to be a people that make few choices - that take few actions - but each time we move, we make a huge mark. I want us to become those people in the room that don't say much, but everyone knows to listen very carefully when they do open up.

It's time to make fewer choices, but lasting change. Less is more. Peace, and much love to you - John Baptist!


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