Patience and Silence: Virtues of Wise People

22 November, 2018
Believe it or not, patience is a virtue that you can develop over time. Wise people know its value both for themselves and the world around them.

Confucius said that someone who has no patience for life’s small problems will be paralyzed and unable to act when confronted with great difficulty. It’s a virtue that not everyone knows how to manage or cultivate. Silence another of the most important virtues, and it goes hand in hand with patience.

Silence means knowing when to be quiet, being able to listen to others, and finding a place where you can communicate with yourself in the calm of your internal world.

Being silent doesn’t mean sabotaging yourself, nor does it mean hiding your opinions out of fear of the consequences. It means to being silent about things that aren’t worth complaining about, and being quiet so that you can hear it when your emotions speak.

Patience and silence are both key virtues of wise people, and they’re crucial in personal development. Today, we want you to join us in reflecting on them as essential aspects of daily life.

Patience and silence: two virtues of wise people

In some ways, the virtues of patience and silence are two sides of the same coin—a wise, ancient coin.

You can see an example of this in Native American culture. The writer Kent Nerburn has talked about the subject in books like “Not Wolf Nor Dog: The Forgotten Trails of an Old Indian.”

In all of his work, he highlights how important the concepts like patience and silence are for these people. Here are some examples.

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Native Americans and silence

The Lakota are part of the Sioux tribe of North America. They are a wise people with a rich, deep spirituality. Even now we have a lot to learn from them.

The Lakota believe in a link with the invisible, with an entity that symbolizes a union with other people: friends, family, and loved ones.

2 native americans

  • That link comes from respect and, above all, silence. It’s the most respectful kind of interaction between two people. Here, silence isn’t just about listening, it’s also a gift to share with time and trust.
  • If you think about it, you’ll realize that oftentimes, if you’re with someone and there’s a moment of silence, you feel uncomfortable. One thing a lot of people do to avoid this it to just say the first thing that comes to mind.
  • This is an attitude we need to change.
  • There’s nothing more magical than a group of friends who feel comfortable even during these moments of silence. There’s no pressure to speak, just to “be present,” united by the invisible bond that the Lakota talk about.
  • For Native Americans, silence is a virtue through which they are aware of everything that surrounds them and roots them to the earth, to nature, other people, the cycle of life, and even themselves…their thoughts.

These are aspects worth exploring more deeply and reflecting upon.

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Patience, an art that can’t be taught, but one you can learn

Almost no one teaches you that when you come into this world, things don’t always happen the way you want them to. Nor can anyone promise you that no matter how much you dedicate yourself to something, it will happen or you’ll get what you hope for.

They say that patience is “sacred,” but really it’s an art that you have to pick up over time, through disappointment or the understanding that life will teach you strength—not books or a teacher.

3 wild animals forest

Being patient, above all, means that you don’t give up, ever. If something doesn’t happen the way you want it to, you don’t abandon your goals. It’s important to remember that patience is also calm and confident.

  • Patient people know how to observe, to think in silence, to pay attention to their surroundings, and to develop the intuition that can help them find the best moment to act.
  • People who can’t block out outside noise or other people’s (or their own) negative thoughts or opinions, will never reach their goals.
  • This is because patience also involves having the wisdom to know what to avoid and which paths to follow.

If you have a dream, you can’t let other people block your path with their cynicism or phrases like “you might as well just give up, your shot is long gone.”

Patient people know that even if one opportunity has passed, another will always come at some point. They’ll get another shot because they know to stop and look for it, instead of turning in the other direction to find something else.

Developing the virtues of patience and silence can also help you foster other important skills and traits like perseverance, courage, resilience, and above all…hope.

  • D. Enrique Ataide y Portugal. Vida y pensamientos morales de Confucio. Tomo primero.
  • García Mansilla, Yolanda. (2013). La lengua lakota y el reflejo de su cultura. Universidad de Almería.
  • Grandbois, D. M., & Sanders, G. F. (2009). The resilience of native american elders. Issues in Mental Health Nursing.}
  • Nerburn, K. and Plant, R., 2010. Neither Wolf Nor Dog.
  • Schnitker, SA y Emmons, RA. La paciencia como virtud: perspectivas religiosas y psicológicas. En Investigación en el estudio científico social de la religión, volumen 18 (págs. 177–208). Rodaballo.