Patience vs Progress?

#691/234: Owning It // Is patience a virtue?

Patience vs Progress?
Image by David Greaves

Owning It

Is patience a virtue? Fifty-six years old now, and I still wrestle with my impatience. "Systems change takes time," a colleague recently posted on social media. Really? The entire education system and economy shut down in a matter of a week in March 2020. Systems can pivot rapidly with the right threat. Reading a report recently on challenges to replacing water service lines made of lead deepened my understanding about the complexity of the topic. In the scheme of things, however, it's not a complicated problem, just expensive. Who should pay? Who already is paying in terms of the health impacts and why is that okay? Systems change takes time when there is a lack of urgency, which is often the result of the legacy system serving some ingrained purpose, like generating profit and accumulating wealth. Sustainability is fundamentally about finding a better balance between social, environmental and economic factors. The world needs less complacency and more impatience. If there were a war, and fighting it required removing lead water service lines, Chicago, among other cities, would be transformed quickly. My impatience may be innate, but it's also amplified by knowing we should and could but don't. Innovating "social impact" issues like this actually requires operating with a sense of timeliness and purpose so as not to inadvertently become part of the status quo that is what needs to evolve.


Peter Nicholson

Peter Nicholson

Peter is a writer, multidisciplinary creative, and entrepreneur who founded Circa 250; Foresight Design Initiative, a sustainability-focused innovation consultancy; and Yoga Horizons, a yoga studio.

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