“Good things come to those who wait.”
by Tobias van Schneider
Published Oct 25, 2023
As a designer, one of the most useful skills you can have is patience. Even if you’re not a designer, patience is one of the best yet hardest skills to learn.
Patience helps you trust the process as a designer. It guides you when you’re annoyed of yourself not finding a solution to your problem today, right now. It reminds you that efforts build and compound.
Patience is in itself optimistic. It requires believing that whatever you want now will still be there in the future – or may even be better in the future. But it’s more than blind hope. It’s trust in one’s ability and effort. It’s understanding that good things come to those who wait while making good decisions.
Patience is elegance. It gives you the ability to pause, slow down, deescalate.
I sometimes think you’ll only fully understand patience once you’ve made peace (spiritually) with your parents. Or when you have a child. Or both. There are exceptions.
I sometimes believe patience might only be effective if exercised consistently and proactively. Otherwise, it can be confused with aimless waiting, which is quite the opposite of optimism. There’s nothing inspiring about being sedentary, physically or mentally. Patience can be a virtue yet also a vice. The problem is, you usually only know in retrospect. But there are always hints.
Patience isn’t always the answer, sometimes it’s the opposite. But it’s a tool I’m trying to master as an impatient student of life in a chronically impatient generation.
When I start a new company, I’m always anxious about competitors who are launching at the same time as us. Or I’m worried about competitors that launch after us, copying our ideas, launching with almost the exact offerings. Watching and waiting anxiously for many years, I was unaware that the majority of our competitors would disappear. And only after looking back, I realize why they disappeared. It was simply time.
If you look at it statistically, most companies don’t even make it beyond the 12 month mark. The reasons are often inexplicably linked to TIME. They can fail by running out of money, or failing to deliver a product people want. But more often, they fail because their founders or team don’t get along, and only time, the dripping water on a rock, can bring those issues to the surface. All you have to do is wait. Sometimes the signs are right there from the beginning, you just have to look closely.
In the end it’s all about patience and your ability to deal with it. I’m certainly not good at it, otherwise I wouldn’t be anxious about the things time will take care of for me anyway.
But I’m learning, and as I do so I’m trying to be patient with myself.
Give it time and the time will come. Give it too much time, and nothing will come. Find the spot in between and you won’t feel impatient at all, because you know the thing you want now doesn’t exist yet.
It only comes with patience.