Impatience is not a Virtue and Life is Better if People Play the Game

An advert for a new mobile shows a bunch of twenty something’s running photogenically amok.  The strap-line is “Impatience is a Virtue”. Last night my beloved Celtic were robbed of a decent start in a  “must win game”,  by a  piece of professional impatience.  In other words cheating by the Arsenal forward Eduardo, who dived like a lead filled Polaris   to “win” a penalty.  To be fair, trailing to two away goals we had as much chance as George W Bush has of winning Tehran East in the next Iranian elections. Yet it was critical point in the game and  The referee fell for Eduardo’s dive. The Luddite resistance of the football authorities to that new fangled invention television, means the goal will stand.

In the swimming pool this morning I was making stately progress in the medium speed lane. There was a guy, (hardly Greg Phelps) , who cut me up because he didn’t think I  was going fast enough. That’s despite the fact that the pool was empty and he could have gone in the fast lane.

That impatience and blindness to others is everywhere. No it’s not just London and it’s not just the young. It’s endemic. Sometimes it’s reflected in the workplace. People want promotion, they want titles, they want pay increases, they want plum postings. They don’t want to deal with the customer or pull their weight. Recession restrains this behaviour but it’s under the surface. Whilst ambition and aspiration are virtues, the idea that we all should get what we want when we want it, is deeply pernicious . That after all is what the economic crisis is about at all levels.

In business playing a  long game and respecting people is the best way. Choosing your own response, listening   reflecting, and respecting not just reacting are virtues. These are what I call tactical skills because you can turn them on a bit like manners.. I don’t care whether they are genuine or not. If people behave better (to paraphrase a more thoughtful mobile ad) life and the workplace are better. 

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