Patience and Silence: Virtues of Wise People

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.
Patience and Silence: Virtues of Wise People
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Patience and silence are two attributes considered virtues that only the wisest know how to put into practice. With these tools, you’ll be able to face any obstacle or difficulty that life puts in front of you.

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 keeping quiet 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: The bond of connection with oneself

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 concepts like patience and silence are for these people. Here are some examples.

Two friends talking on the edge of a lake.

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Native Americans and silence

As the carried out by Yolanda García Mansilla explains, 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. 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. The idea is to learn the art of resilience, as a study published by several researchers at the University of North Dakota explains.

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 is to just say the first thing that comes to mind. This is an attitude we need to change because:

  • 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 connects them to the earth.

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.

A young woman meditating on the beach.
There’s no one way to meditate. Everyone should find the way that best suits their lifestyle.

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. Values that lie in the ability to:

  • Know how to observe
  • Think in silence
  • Pay attention to the environment
  • Develop intuition to discover the best opportunity to act

Choose the path of patience

Whoever’s not able to keep away the external noise, negative thoughts, and defeatist opinions of other people and of themselves will find it difficult to reach their goal. Because being patient also requires the wisdom to choose what to avoid and which paths to follow.

Patient people know how to place themselves on the best platform in life. On the one where the best trains pass, even if they take a long time, even if they’re delayed. And make sure that the wait will be worth it because, while you wait, you will develop other skills: Perseverance, courage, resilience, and hope.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.