Friday, August 21, 2009

My Major Vice

Most of us have one significant vice. Some have temper problems. Others are too passive. The list of potential vices is infinite.

Mine is impatience.

It took years before I spotted this. I'm usually regarded as a very mellow and calm person. Earlier, I would have identified procrastination as my vice. [I'm a towering castle of sloth.] Only later did it strike me that my definition of procrastination was a tad hair-trigger and that in itself was a sign of impatience. In short, I was impatient with myself.

This doesn't mean I'm a loon in traffic or that I go around barking at people.

It means that when I see a project that could be done in two weeks taking five months, I'm not pleased. Impunctuality drives me up the wall (8:00 is not the same as 8:05) as do meetings where people have not done their homework.

What I've had to realize is that impatience often clouds reality. The decision that could have been made in ten minutes tops has to go through lengthy discussions so everyone is on board. Those discussions are neither optional nor trivial and - barring a crisis - the outcome is usually superior to the ten minute version.

So it goes with many other episodes in which impatience rears its head. I now regard impatience as both a virtue and a vice. It serves as a guard against unnecessary delay and yet it can lead to hours of needless frustration.

What's your vice?

1 comment:

Rob said...

Expecting the same from others as I expect from myself. Effort, punctuality, willingness to listen, learn from others, following through, responsibility. I often struggle with the question of am I expecting too much?

Here is a recent example, I was in a meeting reviewing a policy document and there was a term that was an old acronym used several times, I highlighted this and was in no uncertain way shut down, that I didn't know what I was talking about, so I just thought, "okay then". After the meeting I went and double checked and I was right, but I was sure I was anyway, the thing is I would have done exactly the same thing if somebody had questioned something I had written, gone and checked that is.