“Patience is underrated.” So said Steve Wozniak in recalling his early pre-Apple days. “ I acquired a central ability that was to help me through my entire career: patience. I’m serious. Patience is usually so underrated. I mean, for all those projects, from third grade all the way to eighth grade, I just learned things gradually, figuring out how to put electronic devices together without so much as cracking a book…I learned to not worry so much about the outcome but to concentrate on the step I was on and to try to do it as perfectly as I could when I was doing it.”
Steve could have been a sewist with that approach. I have always felt the number one attribute I gained from sewing was the patience that is instilled in me. Sewing gives us an honest representation of our skill level, how much we want to accomplish our goal and what we have to be willing to do to achieve it. Ripping out and failing at projects that you put your heart and soul into will help you achieve that. Consider all the steps put into a tailored jacket or a couture dress. Going from point A to the end can only be accomplished with diligence, concentration and patience. A step by step schedule also helps. This was a lesson branded into my brain in college. I took a tailoring class from a very experienced talented teacher (she taught sewing to girls in Africa on treadle sewing machines as part of her journey for goodness sakes!!!…). My assignment: to create a lined tailored jacket. This was a summer class during which time I had no other job, lived with two other girls, had a convertible and a gorgeous assortment of beaches nearby. Procrastination set in (NOT a companion of patience). Tailoring involves shaping and molding a garment with layers and lots of hand stitches. Hand stitches and tailoring take time. I ran out of time. This forced me to imbibe lots of caffeine and stay up many a night towards the end of the class schedule. Needless to say the one on one evaluation with the teacher and an unfinished jacket ended up in ceaseless tears – fueled by lack of sleep, jangled nerves resulting from too much caffeine and a barely passing grade. During the school break, I took that project home and showed my mother what I had been working on. It was another lesson that stuck in my head all these years. Her capacity for unconditional love didn’t try to solve the problem for me or criticize my inadequacies. She just looked at it and gave me praise for what I had done and was genuinely impressed.
So what exactly are the characteristics of patience?
1 – It is not being so self absorbed to think that our momentary emotions are more important than the task to be accomplished.
2 – It is knowing in your heart that your end results won’t be hampered by your frustrations.
3- It is a spirit that also fosters wisdom and humility.
4- It knows that accomplishing one step at time and having a plan is better than a rushed together outcome.
5- Wisdom tells us that patience is weak when our moods and energies are low and we can’t concentrate.
6 – Patience has a low tolerance for drama and can often be the solution to another person’s meltdown.
7- Patience helps us zero in on what we need to do to go forward.
There are side effects of developing patience. Teaching a classroom of students how to sew will demonstrate how much patience you have developed– as will helping your own rug rats learn to finish a game without fighting, clean a bedroom, or work through homework after spending their day in a classroom…. Patience will help you be the calm in the middle of a storm and give others the impression that you stand out because of strength and resiliency.