usable in any place a human can be used


fortune cookie wisdom

[caption id="attachment_306" align="alignright" width="175" caption="makes delicious chicken"]makes delicious chicken[/caption]

I'm back at my company's main office today tying up a loose end for a previous client. This means that it's all the free Diet Dr. Pepper I can drink, a trip down memory lane to the land of .Net, and lunch at Saigon Palace. Saigon Palace is a wonderful little restaurant in the heart of Columbus that serves up a fantastic General Tso's lunch special. The best part of any meal is the desert, and at Saigon Palace the sweet treat to cap off the meal is the humble fortune cookie. The fortune cookies at Saigon Palace are infamous at work for containing a piece of paper with something written on it that is almost never a fortune, and frequently not even understandable.

Imagine my surprise as I got a fortune today that was a full sentence and it made sense.

Impatience may be appropriate at this time.

That made me sit up and take a second look. I might also be buying a lottery ticket with 20-5-15-51-27-13 on it. Back on track though, it made me think about where I am in life and where I want to go and what I've subconsciously been telling myself for my whole life, "Be patient, work hard, bit by bit you will reach your dreams." It's the kind of thing that works really well to achieve standard goals, to accomplish lots of things in life it's not a bad idea. The problem is that its effectiveness can blind you to any other way forward. Then yesterday I read Derek Siver's There's no speed limit (The lessons that changed my life.) and this fortune cookie brought the whole story rushing back into my mind. Patience can be a virtue, but it can also be a hindrance. To quote Monty Burns

If you can take advantage of a situation in some way, it's your duty as an American to do it. Why should the race always be to the swift or the jumble to the quick-witted? Should they be allowed to win merely because of the gifts God gave them? Well, I say cheating is the gift man gives himself!

Now I don't want to promote any cheating, but sometimes the impulsive, dangerous, caution-to-the-wind approach to life feels like cheating. There is no structure, there are few guidelines, its up to you and your guile to make it. Patience ensures you a slow steady build up, impatience can be dirty and dangerous, it can pay off big or blow up in your face. The cookie brings up a good point though, impatience is sometimes appropriate.

That's the idea I want to impart today, not that patience is bad or that impatience is good, but that sometimes impatience is appropriate. Gunshot wound, don't patiently wait for a taxi, demand an ambulance. Production server on fire, don't patiently wait for the Triage Committee to assemble, put it out. Bored at work, don't patiently wait for someone to walk by and hand you something interesting to do, go poke around for the good problems, become the person that solves them.

Patience is a virtue, but impatience is appropriate, sometimes. It's up to you to determine when it's appropriate, and you will have to pay the piper if it blows up. Learning when its right to leap without looking and speak up when others are quiet is the way that you take control over your own destiny.

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