Years ago when I was studying for my master’s degree in sustainable business, I came across an article by Myerson and Scully called ‘Tempered Radicalism and the politics of change’.  Although the title of the article sounded dry, after reading it, I was caught by the powerful concept that the authors put forwards around the art of transforming communities and systems.


They spoke about how often when we are trying to create change, we can become derailed and frustrated by our own impatience and our need to ‘make’ or ‘force’ change before it is naturally ready to happen.


They also talked about the delicate balance between the states of persistence and desistence.


This struck a massive chord somewhere inside of me.


All my life, I have been the queen of impatience.

Many of us have.


Impatience arises when we persist with a personal agenda and forget to listen to what wants to happen (and when). Impatience knocks at the door of our consciousness when we find ourselves looking to the future and waiting for ‘a thing’ to happen that would either


  • make the situation better
  • make us happy
  • make us fulfilled
  • make us feel like we had accomplished the thing we set out to do, in the way we had planned it.


But the problem here is that we are always waiting for ‘that thing’ to happen and in doing so we never notice the small steps along the journey that eventually create a deeper change than that which we had planned.


Of course, when things don’t happen fast enough or change in the way we want them to, we can become stubborn and persistent. Personally, I tend to go into overdrive, finding multiple new angles of approach, different ways of badgering people into moving in the direction I had planned, or different ways of pitching an idea that I feel needs to be manifested (fast).


When I persist like this, however, people often push back, the system does nothing (perceptively) and momentum grinds to a halt so that I end up feeling frustrated that things are not going according to plan.


Persistence when used as a belligerent force ultimately creates stagnation.

Stagnation leads to further impatience.


So let’s stop and take a moment to examine ‘impatience’.


It usually is the surface symptom of something completely different operating at a core belief level.


Impatience expresses itself for me when

  • I have lost trust in the overall flow of life
  • I have forgotten that I am not the only one who co-creates in a system
  • I am judging others for not following my plan or expectations (often unsaid)


Essentially impatience is all about me.

Me – no one else external.

Me and my inner work.


When impatience leads me to a block in the system, I discover the only course of action is to desist (the second of Myerson and Scully’s forces for change).


When I desist from pushing ahead my agenda something miraculous happens.


I pause.

And I reconnect to the original vision/intention.

I stop forcing things and listen to what wants to happen.

And I notice what I have been resisting in the course of the whole journey.


Again this process is all about me.


Me, becoming aware of what aspects of my inner triggers are creating resistance (and impatience).


Me, realising where I still have important work to do.


Me, laughing at the process of transformation that seems like it needs to be outside in, when actually its always inside out.


Inside out change needs both persistence and desistence in equal measure and the right proportions.


When I embrace my own resistance I can come back into action this time from a place of deeper self-awareness and precision.


Precision because I am able to trust the flow of creation once again and allow others to co-create with me. To offer me new and better ways of transforming the system of which we are all a part of.


Persistence then turns inwards and I start to become stubborn in seeking out my own inner blockages and resistance to change.


Outer desistence leads to inner persistence – all in harmonious balance.


So the question is….


What is your impatience teaching you?




Meyerson, D. & Scully, M (1995). Tempered radicalism and the politics of change.




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