To Wait Or Not To Wait, That Is The Question

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To Wait Or Not Wait – That Is The Question

There is a tendency in today’s world to not want to wait. We want everything now.

The idea of delayed gratification may be a foreign concept to those who:

  • have a microwave oven mentality.
  • make a sense of entitlement an art form.
  • rely heavily on instant messaging.
  • want things done yesterday.

But even in today’s fast-paced, consumer consumption world, you still need to WAIT:

  • for an airplane, a bus, a train, or your ship to come in
  • for the mail to arrive
  • for your company to arrive for dinner
  • to cross the street

What Do You Do While You’re Waiting?

Are you grateful for those brief moments?

Do you take a moment to thank God for your day so far? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances.

Do you pause to collect your thoughts?

Do you reflect about what is truly important?

Do you remain at peace or do you get agitated and frustrated?

How you answer those questions says a lot about your character.

We hear expressions like…

  • Just you wait and see.
  • Wait a minute!
  • Wait for me.
  • Wait until the cows come home!

I think WAIT is a word of great wisdom.

When the world would have you rushed off your feet, it speaks… BE PATIENT.
When you’re ready to throw in the towel and quit, it whispers… PERSEVERE.
When the tasks in front of you seem to much to bear, it says… PERSIST.
When life throws you a curve ball, it says… STAY THE COURSE!

Benefits Of Learning To Wait

When we learn to wait, we:

  • allow more time that can prevent mistakes. You’ve probably heard… “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
  • appreciate the time we do have. It was Geoffrey Chaucer who said, “Time and tide wait for no man.
  • increase our level of patience. Joyce Meyer says, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.

When Not To Wait

But all waiting has to do with timing, doesn’t it?

There are times we should NEVER WAIT:

  • for a later time to apologize or to resolve a dispute.ย Napoleon Hill said, “Dont wait. The time will never be just right.
  • to BE LOVE TO OTHERS. Henry Van Dyke said, “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
  • to do the right then when called upon.
  • too long for opportunities. William Arthur Ward said, “Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.”
  • to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, for you never know when it will be too late.

For the acronym buffs, my BUTLERism for the word WAIT is…

My BUTLERism for the word WAIT.

My BUTLERism for the word WAIT.

Now I’ll Wait and Listen While You Have Your Say

When do you find it difficult to wait?

Do you find it easier to wait for some things than others?

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About Bill Butler
William A. Butler is a John C.Maxwell certified coach. He loves to add value to others and aspiring to be a great humanitarian, lives by four words: BE LOVE TO OTHERS. William often goes by "Bill" and is a poet, a songwriter and has an upcoming novel.

52 thoughts on “To Wait Or Not To Wait, That Is The Question

  1. Wow! Loved this part:
    But, you should NEVER WAIT:
    To tell your loved ones how much they mean to you
    To do the right then when called for
    To resolve a dispute

    Things that matter and don’t need to be waited to act upon, must not be put off. I remember the lessons from the famous “Eat That Frog” book by Brian Tracy!

    “If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” –Morris West

    • Hello Kumar,

      Glad you love my writing, and thank you for your comments.

      Life is definitely too short to squander on the frivolous;
      and is best spent on loving and serving others.

      Kind Regards,

  2. Yes Bill, more so in today’s fast-paced technological world patience is more important now than ever before as we are put on hold for a long period of time, waiting in the emergency room, mechanics, and so forth. Patience is the key word that makes dealing with people better on both ends and helps all of us get frustrated less often. Perseverance and patience go hand in hand…. if you can allow yourself to visualize/see the completion/completeness of your goal/desire, then not only will you manifest your outcome but you will be in a position of wisdom to have great patients in all matters. To have perseverance is to have constant determination. In doing so, you will be able to continue a course of action without having regard to discouragement or any obstacles that are in my way until I have mastered it. To persist is to hold on firmly and steadfastly to a purpose until desired outcome.

    My son told me once….mom, how you do anything is how you do everything in your life!

    “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle,….while you wait, enjoy in yourself and welcome that time with joy and peace.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.

    In gratitude,

    • We all learn from one another, so I also thank you, Jagica, for your great insights and valuable comments.
      Your son is very wise, by the way.

      I’ll sign off with a blessing by one of my favourite authors, the late John O’Donohue…

      “May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.


  3. Bill,

    here is a link I want to share with you in your comments

  4. Colleen Butler says:

    Okay everyone, stop waiting and step up to the plate.

  5. Ahhh…we do live in a very impatient world. Remember as children how we couldn’t wait to grow up? Ha! But I really do love the things we not wait for…telling the people we love how much they mean to us…never wait to apologize. Very wise words.
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Communication…Where’s The Justice?My Profile

    • Hi Jacquie,
      Yes, that’s true… and then there are people who are not waiting for their second childhood to arrive to have fun. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Not waiting is also important to success… not waiting to make improvements, to implement change.
      Thank you for contributing.

  6. Instant gratification is a major problem facing the world. It makes companies think short term and make profit in ways that are detrimental to the world economy.
    Catarina recently posted…Will future leaders have to expand their thinking?My Profile

    • Hi Catarina,
      I agree with you. It used to be that companies could be relied upon to make quality products, but in the rush to meet consumer demand and outdo the competition, they sacrifice their good name.

      All the best!

  7. Hi Bill. As often happens you have brought great clarity to the subject of waiting and covered most of my thoughts on the topic. I like the distinction between productive waiting for things that must happen in their own time and procrastination in matters of the heart that should not be delayed. I don’t claim patience as one of my greatest strengths but when irritated over a delay have learned to ask myself whether the problem is really the issue at hand or whether in fact it is some internal issue that needs to be resolved. In most cases it is the latter and the time that I must wait provides just the right amount of time to deal with it.
    Paul Graham recently posted…I Just Bought A DressMy Profile

    • Hi Paul,
      I appreciate learning more about you through your comments. When I write, I usually try to like at both sides of a matter, as I’m more of a BOTH-AND kind of thinker than an EITHER-OR type. I usually have a lot of patience, but there are times when I get sorely tested. Just part of being human, I suppose.

      Yesterday we were out of town moving an elderly lady. I got behind one car doing less than the speed limit. When I would go to pass, that person would then speed up and move to the other lane. They kept this up for about three miles. I don’t understand the rationale, but I reminded myself that I was in no particular hurry. I’m glad you’re able to reflect on what causes your impatience. I think personal reflection provides the deepest learning.

      Kind Regards,

  8. Bill,

    Again, you have written words of wisdom that touch so many lives on a consistent basis. I am a very patient person. However, at times I sense impatience rising that takes effort to suppress, because the demand that is upon me from my writing, ministry and businesses. I just wrote a booklet titled, “Time – A Valuable Asset.” Learning to be patient to enjoy the moments divinely orchestrated for our lives is times to reflect on who we are in Christ, as a career person and where we may be going. God desires for us to work and be productive. However, we always need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to help us when our time, minds and emotions may be overstretched and overwhelmed. Those divinely orchestrated moments can be the escapes we need to cope with the demands upon us. Learn to be patient and wait when you know you have no control over the moment. This could be the times when revelation, favor and opportunity may come. Blessings of supernatural rest and peace!


    • Hi Danny,
      Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to write. With so many demands on your time, you may need a smaller plate.
      I think it is important to direct the focus of our energy and attention into things that align with our God-given talents and personal vision, otherwise we lose sight of what is important to us. Plus, as you know, there are a thousand little things that can distract us or throw us off course.

      Ah, yes TIME. I have a BUTLERism for that… This Invisible Momentary Experience.

      Patience before God, as you’ve described it, allows for room for divine blessings, even miracles.

      Thank you for your kind words of blessing. Stay strong!

  9. Hi Bill
    I am very used to waiting – I have a horror of having others wait for me so I’m always early for appointments and I’m good with that. I take this time to read, to relax, or just sit back and enjoy a coffee. All calming activities which are so good for me.
    Lenie recently posted…A Look at Washers -Top-Load vs. Front-LoadMy Profile

    • Hi Lenie,
      Welcome back! I have always been a punctual person as well. I got that drilled into me in the military, which was the source of a lot of learning for me.
      Personally, I just think it’s fair not to keep people waiting because it shows you value their time as well.

      Kind Regards,

  10. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been stopping to smell the …lilacs. It’s a scent that brings me back to childhood and reminds me to slow down. Waiting and patience can certainly be challenging. Thank you for reminding us to be grateful during those times and to look for what we can glean/learn from those moments.
    Christina recently posted…Photography Tip: Quick Tips for Zoom Effect Camera TrickMy Profile

    • Hi Christina,
      Being the excellent photographer you are, I sense that you are already a patient person, as photography quite often depends on it.

      Isn’t the olfactory bulb amazing? Just yesterday I spelled an antiseptic smell I hadn’t remembered since the first orphanage I was in.

      We love the smell of the lilac trees here, and they are amongst my favorites.

      You’re welcome Christina, and I thank you for your contribution here and through your photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

      All the best,


  11. Dear Bill,
    Thank you for this timely post. At this very moment I find myself in a position where I am forced to wait for a certain job outcome. I get frustrated and impatient and I want to help the process along lol. After reading this post, I realize that having a waiting period can be a good thing. It gives you space to think carefully about things and not rush in, potentially messing things up in the process.

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Ludi-May,
      Welcome back! I trust you are well. As you wait on that outcome, think of even more ways to be of service and to add value to others. It’s a great exercise and it helps you fix in your mind what it is that you do better than most.

      I wish you well, not only in all your enedeavors, but for favorable outcomes.

      Kind Regards,

      • Thank you Bill! I am well thank you, hope you are too. Thank you for your response and wishes. I am always so blessed and inspired by your posts.
        Oh, and it just so happens that I got that favourable outcome – I received the news yesterday morning! I am so excited and eager for to embark on this new journey. Any advice on starting a new job?? I would really appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚


        • Hi Ludi May,
          Congratulations on the great news! Focus on adding value, and remain open to learning all you can. I would keep it that simple.

          Kind Regards,

  12. When I was a little girl, I was incredibly inpatient. Antsy, didn’t stop to enjoy the moment. I’d pace and wait all day for an activity or what-not and then when it came, it would go by so quickly, I didn’t value how much fun I had in the moment. I learned over the years to stop, visualize who much fun I would have and be “in the moment” fully. That has paid off. Now, when I am waiting for something predictable (like giving a presentation) I still visualize and say my positive affirmations. When I am waiting for something unpredictable (a new client!) I still say my positive affirmations but find something else to focus on; to be thankful for. Or, heaven forbid, I just relish where I am in space and time and literally count my blessings. I guess since I hit 50, I’ve been doing that a lot lately ๐Ÿ™‚
    Laurie Hurley recently posted…3 Ways Being Of Service To Others Can Be A Win-WinMy Profile

    • Hi Laurie,
      50 already? You sure don’t look it. I’m closer to 60 than 50 myself, but I can’t wait for you to catch up to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I do think we reach a certain age though, whenever that is for each of us, where we have more awareness, we reflect on what matters most now doesn’t mean as much as it once did, or some new realization comes to us that is vital to our understanding. I think you’re wise to count your blessings. There is literally no end to the things we can be grateful for.

      Kind Regards,

  13. Never wait to say I love you or apologize. Both of these things will haunt you forever if the opportunity becomes lost forever.
    Tim recently posted…Piranha in the PantanalMy Profile

    • Hi Tim,
      I trust you are well. You’re right – waiting to say or do anything that truly matters is like a missed appointment with desire.
      Expectations falling short always cause disappointment.

      All the best!

  14. Excellent post William!
    One of the greatest problem of 21st centuries’ youths is their inability to wait. The last 2 years have taught me the art to wait patiently…and yes, good things do happen after a long wait.
    What I liked the most in this post is the idea of using the time while waiting in thanking god, thinking about the good things that has ever happened and so on. I will keep this in mind from today!

    • Hello Tuhin,
      Thanks for those kind words. So glad you enjoy it. It’s nice to hear you’ve learned the value of patience and thanking God.
      We often hear the adage, “Good things come to those who wait.” I say, “Great things come to those who take action.”
      To Wait or not to wait… that is the question. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Best regards,

  15. Hello Bill,
    1 Thessalonians 5:18 is one of the best verse, that we should mediate on every single day. The way you linked this verse with the article, taught me something great. Just to give thanks even while I am waiting for a service. Yes it is a great message โ€œGive thanks in all circumstances.โ€. Some version, I guess says, give thanks all the time or just in everything give thanks!!

    As Kumar said, I also appreciated the way you reminded the readers things not to wait for…..Be Love to others………great point.

    Thank you for the great article,

    • Greetings Charmant,
      I appreciate your kind words. I think gratitude, properly expressed, in the moment is very important. If we wait too long, we may miss the opportunity.
      I think the delays in life that strengthen us are all good. Conversely, we need not delay on any matters of great importance.

      FYI… I’m still considering your request.

      All the best!

  16. If all my time spent waiting for the Metro in DC this past weekend is a reliable indicator, I’d say people spend their time waiting by whipping out their SmartPhone to check any myriad of things. I’m a pretty patient person except when it comes to my novel. I get frustrated with that all the time, but do try to channel the energy in a positive direction.
    Jeri recently posted…#Poetry: The Song of the Busy BloggerMy Profile

    • Hi Jeri,
      Funny thing. We had been out of town all day yesterday, and stopped in the next mountain town close to ours for supper.
      I don’t spend much time on my phone at all, but when we sat down, my phone chimed that I got an Email. It was your reply to this post. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have a lot of patience, but I sometimes get tested waiting in long lines.

      All the best… especially with your novel.

  17. Such very wise words Bill. Our impatient world has trouble waiting for just about anything these days. Most of us spend our time on our SmartPhone while we wait in grocery lines, movie theaters and so on. Taking just a moment to view our surroundings or talk to someone near us can be much more rewarding. It’s a short life we live, I would hate the have my epitaph read, she really knew how to use her smartphone. Just my thoughts. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Road Trip, Cat, A Little Faith: StoryMy Profile

    • Hi Susan,
      Yes, there are thousands of things to draw our attention away from what we want to accomplish, the smartphone is just one of them.
      I like what you’ve said. I go to the cemetery quite often to meditate, pray and whenever I want to make an important decision.

      We arranged all that stuff a few years ago. When they asked what we wanted on our stone, I jokingly said, “Out to lunch: Back in an hour.”
      I don’t think that would keep anyone waiting around ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Kind Regards,

  18. This is something I often think about while waiting impatiently in front of the microwave, thinking it’s taking forever to ding. I try to imagine a whole different lifestyle when any article of food took several minutes, if not hours, to prepare. Learning to wait is a discipline that I struggle with, but I’m always glad for a few minutes to reflect on life, even if it is in front of the microwave.
    Meredith Wouters recently posted…The Button JarMy Profile

    • Hi Meredith,
      I hope your week is going well. You’re definitely not alone in your struggle. As none of us are perfect, we can all stand to be more patient, and like a muscle that needs strengthening, waiting is just the thing to teach it to us.


  19. Hi Bill,

    After reading this article, I have been contemplating…conveying to you, yes! we can ‘wait’! Actually this is one of the few words which we have been speaking each day to our little grand daughter! But at the same time, a little wait pushes us far behind! What a paradox!

    This reminds me of our turn to get into our class, wait for the teacher who had been teaching earlier…some times getting impatient and look at the students from the rectangular peephole, when the door was closed to convey that it was time to get out and it was such a fun to watch their expressions…some too engrossed, some so distracted, smiling smugly!! And the teacher – saying the same words to herself- ‘to wait or not to wait’!!

    If all this seems greek to you, I must write an article about this…explaining the dilemma. I am feeling quite inspired! Thanks for sharing…seems to have an eternal appeal.
    Balroop Singh recently posted…Have you felt the Emotional and Therapeutic Appeal of Music?My Profile

    • Hi Balroop,

      It certainly takes patience to teach a child the value of waiting. Otherwise, they will read impatience as a cue to follow suit.
      I like how this post provoked some memories for you and I will certainly look forward to you writing about the dilemma.
      When I think back to school days, most often I would hear, “Just you wait ’til your father gets home,” which was never a good thing.

      Kind Regards,

  20. This is a great post. As you get older you tend to get more patience and have less problem with waiting for some things. When I was younger I wanted a lot of stuff to happen soon. Now I’m glad that certain things take a while to happen. It makes you enjoying it that much better.
    Jason B recently posted…Summer College ToursMy Profile

    • Hi Jason,
      I have learned to have a great deal of patience over the years. I have noticed many young people with an air of entitlement, who do not understand the value of contribution. and who take whatever they can. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. And it’s still true, the best things in life are worth waiting for. You’re right – delayed gratification enhances the enjoyment.

      Kind regards,

  21. In as much this is one post which was written somewhere in 2012, it is still relevant today. This is one the reason why I always encourage bloggers to write evergreen posts instead of writing trending stories.

    Thanks a lot Mr. Butler for this masterpiece. Emmanuel Kabenlah Cudjoe has of course learnt his lessons.
    Emmanuel recently posted…Can Blogging buy you a House, a Car and Guarantee you a Beautiful Wife?My Profile

    • Hi Emmanuel,
      This was one of those posts I updated with some fresh insights. It seems we are always waiting for something, but the question is – is it worth it?
      Sometimes we wait for the wrong things, when our energy would be better put towards achieving what we want. Thanks for the kind words.


  22. Hi Bill,

    When to wait: Yes, we do live in a fast paced world! Love the saying by Joyce Meyers. I am sure glad I’m old-school and know that if I’m in a situation like waiting in the doctors office, I bring a book. But most of the time, I’ll take advantage of waiting and pray.

    When not to wait: I found what you mentioned ” tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, for you never know when it will be too late.” popped out to me. That is something to be mindful of.
    donna merrill recently posted…Entrepreneurs Have Holidays TooMy Profile

    • Hi Donna,
      Speaking of fast-paced world.. like me, you’ve probably been busier than a one-legged rooster in the middle of rush route traffic. If you have, you know the value of waiting. It’s all in the timing… otherwise the rooster is no more. I think taking time to meditate and pray is a good habit.
      Have a great weekend!

  23. Hi Bill,

    For me, I had difficulty waiting for something while I’m waiting for something too. It was definitely tough. On the one hand, I want to wait for one thing, and on the other hand, something else is also waiting for me, ha ha ha..

    To be successful, I remember these words:
    “the important thing is not waiting, but what you did while you waiting”

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Bill. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a great week ahead.

    Nanda Rahmanius recently posted…5 Tips to Write Good Blog PostsMy Profile

    • Hi Nanda,
      Here’s another way of looking at it: Contained within each and every day there are 86,400 seconds. that’s over 31.5 billion seconds a year.
      With every passing second, you are trading your life for it. So the questions are… 1) Is the trade worth it? and 2) Are you waiting for life to simply happen or are you intentionally fulfilling your destiny? Food for thought.


  24. Brilliant! I love the Butlerism. It’s a thought worth remembering. I am at my most impatient when I discover how to make something stronger or better and things get in my way. Learning to wait and let those invoved join me in the task is generally the smarter approach.

    • Hi Debra,
      Life is full of paradox. We wait to grow old enough to have wisdom, then get too old to remember most of it.
      Glad you enjoy my #BUTLERism. When things get in our way, it calls for an extra measure of patience. I like your approach – I think it’s wise.


  25. Bill it is horrible how impatient people are getting today.
    I think some of the technology and speed with which things are happening is somehow creating this expectation.
    I am not soooo impatient. I often find ways to make use of my downtime, and have even gone offline for months (trip to south america including 10day hikes etc). So for me, it is not such an issue, but I see so much of it around.
    Not sure it is going to improve
    Ashley Faulkes recently posted…Siteground Review: Web Hosting with a DifferenceMy Profile

    • Welcome Ashley,
      I agree. There is certainly too much impatience. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but there have been several times we’ve been at a restaurant and
      they can’t wait to get you out of there to get the next people seated. I have a lot of patience, but sometimes it wears thin.

      Kind Regards,

  26. Hi Bill: I’ve never been known for being the most patient person, but find I am definitely developing more patience as I grow older. I think that having and valuing patience is a learned virtue that is overlooked by the young.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…collaboration: a key to successMy Profile

    • Hi Doreen,
      I think with time we do acquire wisdom, hence my #BUTLERism for the word wait. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of mistakes to be so smart, and we too soon forget our lessons. Ah, the joys of the human condition. Have a wonderful week.

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