I learned a great phrase from a colleague recently: tactical patience.
He’s in the National Guard and he got it from the Army guys while he was called up.
Certainly the Army is not the first to discover the notion of waiting for the right time to act, but I love how “tactical patience” emphasizes that it’s an intentional, strategic choice.
Here’s an example of an article I found about tactical patience.
On another blog, I found this definition of tactical patience:
Tactical patience is giving a situation enough time to develop and unfold before trying to determine its meaning, significance and how to react to it. Tactical patience can sometimes require only a few seconds and sometimes require many hours.
How might tactical patience come into play if you aren’t in the armed forces?
- Your spouse is on your last nerve and you decide to hold your tongue until you’re calm enough to have a productive conversation.
- You feel the need to have an important conversation with your boss, but you know the boss is distracted with big issues so you wait until the time is right.
- You want to sell your house but the market is soft so instead you wait another year.
Whether it’s waiting for the politics of your office to change or waiting for an irritating neighbor to move out, life has many moments when patience can pay off.
I had a therapist tell me once that humans love to do something. Activity makes us feel in control of our lives, even if it’s unproductive. He said it can be useful to actively remind yourself, I am making a choice to do nothing because it’s the best course of action right now.
He didn’t use the phrase “tactical patience,” but that’s essentially what he was describing.
Have you ever used tactical patience — waiting to take action so you would get a better result?