“In life you have to take everything at once. Waiting is for losers. Those who have time don’t wait for time”… And I could go on for quite a while. I have reported only some of the phrases that are so popular right now to ask you and ask ourselves, we all agree that the “politics” of this historical period has completely erased concepts such as patience, waiting, knowing wait? I really think so. Immediacy is one of the main figures of our days. We want immediacy in relationships, in work, in success. Everything and immediately: and when things arrive we burn them as quickly as they arrived, if they don’t arrive as quickly we forget them or, worse still, we get depressed.
Yet not ethics, not religion, not the politically correct, but real scientific studies held by American universities, begin to indicate a completely new viaticum for success that arises from completely opposite assumptions compared to the immediacy mentioned above : Americans speak “conscientiousness” and we could translate it into Italian as a sort of mix between two main skills which are self-control and the ability to know how to wait to receive gratification.
People who possess this conscientiousness have very relevant marked characteristics:
- They achieve higher educational qualifications even when they start from socio-family situations than others
- Achieve career outcomes at work
- They manage to build lasting family relationships over time
In short, conscientiousness would really seem to be the new recipe for happiness thanks to its ability to nourish us with success and family affection: what more could we want?
Yet if you think about it, beyond the brand, conscientiousness, we have always known that knowing how to wait is one of the great keys to success in life in small and big things.
And there would be hundreds of examples, in every field. Trivially, we could think, for example, of waiting hours for the sauce that our grandmother prepared for us on Sundays or of the patience of the farmer who waits for the rhythms of nature to harvest his vegetables which have a completely different flavor than the quick ones from the greenhouse. But, you know, if we limited ourselves to this, in my opinion we would risk trivializing the discourse on conscientiousness. For example, we would fail to understand why many people struggle to develop this ability.
They are people who as children have seen their trust in adults betrayed with broken promises. Lies that taught him that the world is a jungle and therefore you can’t trust anyone and you always have to fight just to keep for what you have. Betrayed from small to large they will become anxious, phobic, continually in the throes of great mood swings, in the grip of insecurity.
But they are not, as they say, lost causes. Even as adults you can learn to develop your own conscientiousness; of course, we need positive examples of people around us who demonstrate that we need to trust others and that our commitment, in the long run, inevitably bears fruit, and they are the best fruit. But alas there are few people around to teach you this. Indeed, my feeling is that many people who previously had good levels of conscientiousness are slowly losing it drained by life’s disappointments.
And instead I believe we should not give in to this drift. I have seen first-hand how the greatest satisfactions are not those that came to me immediately, but those that took time, waited, sometimes sweat. They may have been tiring but they are the trophies I am most fond of, the ones I carry with me, the ones that make me wake up full of desire to do in the morning and the ones that, when they arrive, send me peacefully to sleep at night. They will not burn out in today’s ephemeral whole, they will be a part of me for a long time.