Coaching your kids- Part III: Patience

Key takeaways:

  • Patience is one of the most essential elements to success;
  • Patience requires training and coaching;
  • Most things take time to develop:
  • We have a life time to work on many things.

During the last School Holiday in July, I brought my son to a nearby place for fishing. That was the first time he tried fishing so the outing was full of fun and of course, frustration. I am not a big fan of fishing but I used to enjoy finishing with my brother (he was a big fan); mostly for the calmness of sitting out there and enjoying the great outdoors.

My son finally casted his first bait into the river after struggling for some time to get the fishing rod and reel working properly. A few minutes after casting the bait in the river, my son said: “Daddy, there are no fish here.” I then told him: “Son, recreational fishing is often not about catching a big fish but enjoying the outdoors and the view. You need patience to wait for fish to eat baits. Just sit down, relax and enjoy the view of Sydney Harbour!

Fishing requires patience.

Patience is one of the most essential elements to success and patience requires training with lots of coaching. Literally, patience means “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious” according to my dictionary. There are two keywords here: delay and annoyance.

During my career of coaching top researchers in a university and industry professionals, many of them (if not all of them!) were looking for a ‘quick solution‘ in the beginning of coaching. Quickly, all of them released that quick solutions do not always exist. Even if they exist, they may only serve as a ‘quick fix‘ to a problem and hardly solve the fundamental problems or challenges my clients and students face.

Acing the test requires practices and patience. (Photo taken by Dr. Wu @ Ikea, Rhodes Sydney)

Over the years I have seen students and professionals getting impatient. My theory is that people are “spoiled” by Google and the Internet. When students are given an assignment, the first thing students usually do is to google and try to find solutions. In fact, many assignments I give students in the university can be done a lot more quickly with the help of google. My theory is that over time, students become impatient when they can’t find solutions on the Internet. Many of my students didn’t feel that until I gave them an open assignment without fix answers. Then students started complaining about how much time they needed to spend on that project and they didn’t have time.

Some of my clients used to believe that their career could be improved quickly by doing X, Y, Z. Yes, that may be true depending on what the purpose of coaching is. If the coaching is about presentation skills, then I could turn my client into a great presenter after a few practices and coaching sessions. However, if my client is aiming to build a successful online business, for example, then it will take time. Patience is required.

It’s amazing how oysters attach to rocks and grow over time. Oysters are the master of patience, indeed!

I remember one of my friend told me last year that he doesn’t write blog anymore because people are getting impatient reading blog articles. Instead, he started doing short videos. I saw the point and this pretty much matches what I’ve seen in the university and among my coaching clients in the industry: everything must come fast and results also need to come fast! Hmmm…. the world doesn’t entirely work that way.

According to statistics, the average annual return of investment funds is about 5-7% over a 30-year period. Interestingly, Dow Jones Index in the same period of time has an average annual return of about 10%! This means that if you put $100,000 to buy the whole DJ Index (via an index fund) 30 years ago and leaf it until you retire 30 years later (today), then you will have $1.7 million by doing nothing at all; absolutely nothing, except patience! That’s how Warrant Buffet makes a fortune, by the way.

My favourite Buffett rules. Check #7 on the list.

Coaching your kids to be patient is a great gift to your kids. For that, I’d suggest fishing because it’s full of the essences of success: lots of preparation, experience building, frustration, joy and patience. Time is a powerful tool and if you are patient, then you have already owned one of the most powerful tools in the universe to craft your life for success. Amazing, isn’t it?

Dr. C. Richard Wu @

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