The Role of Patience in Mastery…

Mitch Schneider
November 19, 2019

I was listening to Right Now, by Van Halen, on the way home from the Dermatologist’s office just a few minutes ago.

That particular Van Halen cut and I have history. It was my “Get off your ass and do something!” anthem, and I listened to it often and loud. It still is, I guess. But all I could think about as I listened to it in the car on the way home a couple of hours ago was patience.

Odd, isn’t it? Patience is the antithesis of ‘right now.’ The antithesis of immediate effort and instant gratification.

My latest round of introspective contemplation was prompted by being told I’d have to schedule a subsequent appointment for treatment with my dermatologist after my current bout with Graft vs Host Disease was resolved.

I was fine with that, but it did focus my attention on patience and the important role it can play in everything we do. Especially, in the pursuit of mastery.


Mastery, George Leonard’s masterwork on the pursuit of excellence, explains the nature of achieving plateaus and the important role patience plays toward that end. We plod along until a breakthrough is reached. Experience exponential growth in the way of accomplishment. And, then plateau as we prepare mentally or physically for the next leap. A plateau is normal, to be expected, and, yes, still annoying!

Annoying because of our insatiable need for immediate gratification. Our unwillingness to wait.

That lack of patience — our reluctance to continue working diligently toward an important goal or objective — may be the single greatest obstacle we face on our journey toward success.


It may also be the single greatest reason to keep working diligently. Working, right here, and right now, toward that important goal or objective even when the results may not be imminent. And, that’s OK!

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