The Waiting Game

The waiting game is one where people wait to see what others do or wait for opportunities before taking any action. I see people adopting the waiting game for everything and anything.  Is it smart to play the waiting game in every situation?

The waiting game is interesting and fruitful only when deployed under the right circumstances. Often, it is possible that the bad habit of procrastination is being hidden under the guise of the waiting game.

As a business strategist, I do advise my clients to play the waiting game but only in very select scenarios.  In most cases, the waiting game is best only if you are not the market leader and you do not have deep pockets to make some bold and pathbreaking decisions.  That is the only time when you should wait and watch how the market behaves and what the competition is doing before making your moves.

Even then, the key is to swing into action at the right time and not continue to wait for too long.  

There was once a butterfly in a cocoon which was struggling to come out.  A small boy was watching this and decided to help the butterfly to emerge from the cocoon and hence he broke it. As a result, the cocoon was broken too early in the cycle and the butterfly that came out of the cocoon remained crippled for the rest of its life.  The struggle within the cocoon is designed by nature in such a way that the cocoon can only be broken once the wings of the butterfly are strong enough to fly the minute it breaks out of its cocoon. The butterfly is meant to live by flying across different plants and not by sitting at one place. Breaking the cocoon earlier than nature intended takes away this ability from it.

I am also reminded of the story of the Chinese Bamboo which I came across some time back.  The Chinese Bamboo grows 80 feet in just six weeks. Amazing right? But what is more important is the fact that this only happens in the fifth year of planting the seed.  In the first two years, there is nothing visible above the ground. Nonetheless, the planter must water the area and take care of the place where it was planted.  In the third and fourth year, it shows little signs of growth and this is exactly where the patience is tested. 

Interestingly it is not a growth of 80 feet in six weeks.  It is the watering and nurturing of four years which finally yields the results in the fifth year of an 80 feet bamboo tree.  What is visible to everyone is the 80 feet growth in six weeks in the fifth year, not the first four years where barely anything could be seen above the ground. It is the faith and hard work of the farmer which brings the results.  

Our life is full of such waiting games, where we are tested for our patience and conviction. Even if one of them is missing we will fail to accomplish and achieve our dreams. I recommend watching this motivational speech by Les Brown which embodies the message in a better way:

Please remember to wait for the results and keep the faith in the efforts that you are making as those efforts will bear the fruit one day.  An economic crisis is a period of waiting and during this waiting time if the right efforts are made and patience is demonstrated you will certainly reap the benefits through some unbelievably valuable and wonderful results.

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