Patience is bad advice (for a young person)

Post by Patience is bad advice (for a young person)

Patience is the worst advice you can give a young person. 

It’s thievery. 

Advising patience robs the young person of all their energy and ambition. 

Also, it’s impossible to follow this advice; the energy in a young person can not be quelled unless it is beaten out of them ruthlessly, mindlessly, over and over and over again. Hearing “patience” is just one more beating, one more theft. 

You were not patient at their age. 

Patience is an old gardener’s game. Patience is for when you have something worth keeping. Patience is nurture.

Young people haven’t got much, except that chip on their shoulder. 

They have no money. No place to call their own. No reputation. Just wild, unrealistic ambition. 

This is their greatest asset. Energy. Drive. Relentlessness. 

Why would you rob them of their only sustenance? This energy feeds them when they have nothing else. 

What’s the proper advice? 

Advise them to think BIG. Think long term. And don’t worry about all the steps in between.

Urge the young person to create a 10 year vision. This is more of an intention than an explicit goal. It’s a north star, a guide to their ambition, not a detailed treasure map. 

If grit is one-half passion and one-half effort, a 10 year vision provides the extra measure of passion needed when the road gets tough. Most people never get to their best life because they get distracted by get-rich-quick schemes, keeping up with the Joneses, or their passion gets beat out of them. 

We all massively overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can do in a decade.

All the paths of destruction you see in unbridled ambition can be navigated with a massive, idealist, long term vision.

Don’t advise a young person to be patient. Leverage their energy and give them the gift of self-navigation.


Artwork credit to the wonderful Vela Georgiev :)

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Dave Shepherd

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