Four Sayings About The Art of Knowing How to Wait

Knowing how to wait is a virtue that allows you to face bad times with a good attitude. Next, we present the best phrases that'll help you to value this skill more.
Four Sayings About The Art of Knowing How to Wait
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 12 January, 2022

Knowing how to wait is a true art. Indeed, whoever has developed this talent has demonstrated that they’ve reached a significant degree of personal evolution. It involves self-control, tolerance for frustration, temperance, and the ability to see reality in perspective.

When you came into the world you were the complete opposite. Indeed, the baby doesn’t ever put off their needs being met. They want what they want and they want it immediately. If they don’t get it, they despair and break down in tears.

Hence, knowing how to wait is an ability that’s only achieved with time, experience, and patience. In fact, it’s a great virtue that protects and strengthens against adversity. It allows you to cope with bad times with an excellent attitude. Great thinkers know this and that’s why they’ve left some wonderful phrases about it. Here are five of them.

“He who does not wish does not get frustrated. And whoever is not frustrated is not debased. Thus, the true sage waits in stillness, while everything happens and desires do not command. Thus peace and harmony take place and the world follows its natural course.”

-Lao Tse-

1. The pleasure of waiting

If anyone has cultivated the art of knowing how to wait, it’s hunters and fishermen. That’s why one of the phrases of Joseph Antoine René Joubert claims: “The pleasure of hunting is the pleasure of waiting“. In this case, he doesn’t speak of waiting as a sacrifice, but as something that provides satisfaction.

The hunter’s waiting is active waiting. It’s part of the challenge of being able to capture their prey. The only way to catch it is by allowing it time to come out of hiding and to be in a position where they can act.

The same goes for fishermen. In fact, deep down, this is a metaphor for life. Every moment isn’t the right moment. You have to wait for it and know how to act when it presents itself.

man on a fish representing the art of knowing how to wait

2. Don’t anticipate problems

Part of the art of knowing how to wait involves not placing yourself in a mental scenario in the future, especially when it’s connected with possible problems. Indeed, many times you wear yourself out trying to solve problems that haven’t even arisen yet.

Julia Navarro reminds us of this when she says: ” When we get to that river we’ll talk about that bridge“. This metaphor suggests that you never know if you’ll ever even reach that river. As a matter of fact, you may never reach it, but you spend a lot of time and a lot of energy building that bridge in your imagination.

bridge symbolizing the art of knowing how to wait

3. Wait with hope

This phrase by Samuel Johnson claims “Yet it is necessary to hope, though hope should always be deluded, for hope itself is happiness, and its frustrations, however frequent, are yet less dreadful than its extinction”.

As Johnson puts it, hope itself is bliss. It means looking ahead to tomorrow with optimism and positive expectations. Even if what you expected doesn’t come, your positive attitude alone is a plus. On the contrary, despair is the death of all hope in the face of tomorrow. With it, life itself begins to lose value.

Woman with a butterfly on her shoulder thinking about knowing how to wait

4. Everything comes to those who wait

This is one of the simplest phrases, but also the most forceful on the subject of waiting. It states “All things come round to him who will but wait”. The author of this was Henry W. Longfellow. He summarized in a single sentence everything that can be said about the art of knowing how to wait.

Many times, you don’t get what you want because you don’t persevere for long enough. Sometimes, it takes time and this can often be a long time. This long wait may lead you to rush to act or to abandon your goal early. You forget that the more you persevere, the more likely you are to get what you want.

Knowing how to wait is linked to maturity, balance, and character. It’s one of the most difficult things to do in life, but also one of the sweetest and most enriching. Indeed, those who know how to wait also know how to live.

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