Monday, February 20, 2012

Patience, Persistence and Balance... Oh My!

the quality of being patient,  as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
1. to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.: to persist in working for world peace; to persist in unpopular political activities.
2. to last or endure tenaciously: The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
3. to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.

1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
2. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
3. mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
4. a state of bodily equilibrium: He lost his balance and fell down the stairs.
SPOILER ALERT: I don't have the magic formula for this.

I don't, I wish I did, but sadly it's something I struggle with all the time. I recently had several conversations with actor and filmmaker friends on the subject and realized one of of us was talking the other off the ledge. Am I supposed to be patient and let go of the results or am I afraid of doing the next step to achieve my goals? And am I enjoying my life and the journey or just focussing on my career and not being present.

It reminds me of the John Lennon lyrics "Life is what happens to you. While you're busy making other plans."

I can look back over stressful situations and see how FEAR played a huge part of it. I worked myself up in a big batch of worry over an expected outcome or desired response. Most of these circumstances I had little or no control over the end result. But you could have fooled me by the way I was worrying about them. Was I being persistent enough? Did I do everything I could do? Should I send another email? Make another call, do another draft, rework the presentation deck, call my agent for feedback or just give it all up entirely and work at The Grove?

I'm in fear of not getting what I want. I mean that makes sense to want something so bad that you start to get a little FUCKING CRAZY right? Probably not. A friend said to me the other day, "In five months you won't even remember what you were all worked up about." He's right, I can spend a good week trying to figure out how a situation is going to pan out only to have it work out completely different than I had imagined and sometimes even BETTER! Two weeks later I can't even remember what I was stressing about when someone asks for an update.

After looking at the definitions of both patience and persistence - they seem dangerously similar. So for today, I'm giving up trying to figure out if I'm being patient or persistent and instead I've been working on being okay not knowing what the end result will be and trust that the results will be what they are meant to be.

Jonathan Fields posted an excerpt from his new book Uncertainty on his blog in September:

Genius always starts with a question, not an answer.
Eliminate the question and you eliminate the possibility of genius. However, that’s where things get really sticky.
For all but a rare few, “living in the question” hurts. It causes anxiety, fear, suffering, and pain. And people don’t like pain. Rather than lean into it, we do everything possible to snuff it out. Not because we have to, but because we can’t handle the discomfort that we assume “has to” go along with the quest.
Snuffing out uncertainty leads to a sea of prematurely terminated mediocre output, when “sweet mother of God” was just over the hump if only we’d had the will to embrace uncertainty, risk, and judgment and hang on a bit longer. If only we’d learned how to harness and ride rather than hunt and kill the butterflies that live in the gut of every person who strives to create something extraordinary from nothing.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON: Self Reliance "Every man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion. He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and he sweeps serenely over a deepening channel into an infinite sea. This talent and this call depend on his organization, or the mode in which a general soul incarnates in him. He inclines to do something which is easy to him, and good when it is done, but which no other man can do. He has no rival. For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other. When he is true and faithful, his ambition is exactly proportional to his powers. By doing his work he makes the need felt which only he can supply."


  1. Thanks Mark.... There are so many unknowns in my life right now, and I'm actually, surprisingly, completely calm, and just letting whatever is meant to happen, happen. It's one of the most difficult things ever, but every day that I dont stress, and dont try to force something, something totally wonderful presents itself as a possibility. At the end of this week, I had 1/2 dozen amazing possibilities that werent there the week prior, of course the BIG stressor is still present, but I'm patiently staying the course, knowing that that big stressor will soon be a thing of the past.

    1. Thanks for reading and responding! I'm glad to hear your story.