Not Your Mother’s Patience

“Whatever the Way, the master of strategy does not appear fast. Of course, slowness is bad. Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.”

Miyamoto Musashi

At certain points in a baseball season a superstar will say the game has ‘slowed down’ for him. A 100MPH fastball from a pitcher feels like it’s 70MPH. And any major league baseball player crushes a 70MPH fastball. So they go on this incredible streak of hits and homeruns.

But it’s obviously not the game that’s slowing down. The batters hitting before him and after him in the lineup are still seeing the 100MPH pitch. It’s the level of control the superstar feels over the game that is causing this. They are in control of their body. Of their mind. Of their opponent. Think about what that does to a hitter’s approach. The game isn’t slowing down. The superstar is slowing down. Because there is no need to rush something that you are in such control over.

Think of this in life. There are plenty of times when I feel frantic, frazzled, and crazy. I rush around trying to make everything right. And do everything great. But that’s not the answer. That’s out of control. And inevitably things get screwed up. And opportunities are missed.

But slowness is bad. That is obvious. If you’re slow, you miss…everything…including the 70MPH pitch.

The answer lies in patience. But I am NOT talking about the kind of patience that parents hope for from their kids…just to sit quietly, waiting for their food to get there. Or their TV show to start. You know what happens when you sit quietly and wait for things to happen…? Nothing.

Look at this picture of Albert Pujols above. He’s one of the most patient hitters in the game. Does that picture look like he’s sitting on his hands, waiting for a homerun to fall in his lap? He looks like a swordsman. Waiting to strike.

Patience is waiting. But it’s waiting for the ability to seize the moment. Patience isn’t just waiting around for something to happen…it’s not laziness. It’s readiness. It’s the utmost readiness to pounce on the next available opportunity.

Think of a swordsman in a duel. Patience in important…waiting for the absolute right moment to commit to a killing blow. If you rush in too fast, you’re dead. But a swordsman is never at rest…not for a minute. If you rest in a duel, then you’re dead too.

Every swordsman, every athlete, every person on this planet, must be actively patient. Do everything you can to get yourself ready. To be ready, at all times. You have to be chomping at the bit. But not to rush in. Be chomping at the bit to be there when the right opportunity presents itself.

Like everything else, it takes a lot of work to be patient like this. Albert Pujols is one of the most patient hitters in the game. That doesn’t just happen. It takes a lifetime of work to get to that skill level. And a rigorous daily routine to maintain that skill level. You think he could be that patient if he didn’t already study every pitcher he’s going to face on a given day? Every strength and weakness of his opponents? Every strength and weakness of himself?

Work hard. Increase your knowledge. Become a skillful person in the area that you desire to be. And then be patient, by readying yourself every day. By actively maintaining your skill level. So that you will not be rushed when the right opportunity comes at you. So you can just step up to the plate, very deliberately, and hammer the ball.