Strategic Patience

formulaThis morning I ran across the term strategic patience. It wasn’t used in the context of foreign policy with Russia. This strategic patience was used to describe a technique employed by teachers in which students are asked to remove themselves from electronics and quietly observe a math formula, graph, or painting. Sometimes the duration of the assignment was only 1.5 minutes, but that time had a positive learning result.

Quiet observation, stillness, contemplation, and mindfulness are words I hear fairly often. I know a few people who practice yoga and many who claim to pray, but most everyone I know is also running as fast as they can most of the time. It is rare that anyone sits still or savors a moment alone.

I know that’s probably true of the people around you as well. In fact, University of Virginia psychologist Timothy Wilson and his colleagues at U.Va. and Harvard found in a series of 11 studies that participants generally did not enjoy even six to 15 minutes alone in a room with nothing to do but think, ponder, or daydream.

We become so accustomed to filling every moment, we schedule more and more and more and then start to rush to get it all done. And we convince ourselves that everything we’re doing is important whether or not we appreciate the value it adds to our lives. We have an idea that through this overabundance we are living more fully,varms but are we, or would strategic patience serve us better?

That’s a big question to answer in a blog post. It’s the kind of big question people write whole books about. I’m in too much of a hurry to write a book. I just need to get this post finished so I can move on to the rest of my over-scheduled day. As a result, I’ll limit the rest of this space to sharing what I’ve learned the past few years…by being still.

Being still matters. It’s important. No, it’s CRITICAL.

I don’t know why exactly except that without stillness there is no motion. Contrasts in life are the way we make sense of things. We can’t know sweet unless we know sour. We can’t know fast unless we know slow. We can’t know happiness unless we know sadness. We can’t know success unless we know failure.

Until we are able to sit still with ourselves, we cannot know ourselves fully and not knowing ourselves frightens us. It leaves us susceptible to criticism because we’re not really sure if the criticism is deserved. It leaves us unable to apologize sincerely because we’re not really sure how we feel. It causes us to bristle quickly because each time someone doesn’t follow their prescribed role in our necessarily narrow script, we feel threatened. It causes us to posture rather than stand confidently tall. It keeps us divorced from our vulnerability without which we cannot receive love. And we all want to be loved.

Now, how does any of this relate to cooking? It doesn’t, but strategic patience is ingredient number one for thriving.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/to-get-students-to-focus-some-professors-are-asking-them-to-close-their-eyes/2016/04/06/b2b019e8-e6ef-11e5-bc08-3e03a5b41910_story.html

https://news.virginia.edu/content/doing-something-better-doing-nothing-most-people-study-shows

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