Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Patience, Prudence, Caring, and the Zone

It can take you many years to establish a great reputation - such treasure is not created overnight - but that same reputation can be destroyed in seconds.

We may wish those numbers were reversed and yet that is not the way life operates.

An account of the early life of Winston Churchill described him as a young man in a hurry. Churchill's dedication to his advancement was no small thing but he did not become prime minister until he was 65 and even that was a close call. [I'm appallingly behind with my own career schedule and may be an overnight success at 80.]

Consider the impact on the world, however, if Churchill had decided to pack it in after the Gallipoli disaster and write books. We'd probably be speaking German right now. Many of us wouldn't be around at all.  

Patience and prudence should be blended with caring. By that, I mean the wisdom to know what to care about, what not to care about, and the depth of each. Many of us spend way too much time fretting about things which, in retrospect, seem minor. A large portion of those worries involves matters over which we have little or no control. I have written earlier about the importance of having a zone of indifference. It is vital to care, but unless you develop such a zone, the world will drive you to despair.

The zone of indifference should be linked to similar zones of patience and prudence. Each filter enables you to function far more effectively and protects against the evils of impatience and indiscretion.

"But not to excess" should be on the prescription label of all of our virtues.

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