During his lifetime Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, wrote many books and articles directed to Scouters.
Each Sunday I’ll publish a selection from his writings in the hope that you’ll draw inspiration and understanding from his timeless ideas.
“I’m Out of Patience with You”
THAT’S a good old English phrase when you come to analyse it — seldom heard nowadays except when Mrs. Washtub is smacking her boy. But it means a lot — and patience is a bad thing to be out of.
If you’re “out of” food you starve; if you’re “out of” temper you make a fool of yourself; but if you’re “out of” patience you may ruin your career.
I have known lots of men who ruined their career through drink, through deceit, through wine, and through women; but I have known more who have done so through want of patience.
For instance, it is just as difficult to be patient in the army under a nagging commanding officer or non-commissioned officer as it is in civil life to keep from giving a puck under the ear to a sneering foreman or a cynical boss. But it has got to be done if you mean to get on. So, too, with your own neighbours, or with the fellow working under you, or your stupidest Scout. In dealing with such characters the best step to gaining patience with them is to act on the old phrase, “See the worst but look at the best.” Don’t expect to find any man perfect — he is bound to have defects. Any ass can see the bad points in a man. The thing is to discover his good points and keep these uppermost in your mind so that they gradually obliterate his bad ones. If you can make this your habit it will enable you to stand a lot from your foreman, you will be able to suffer the fools and bores more gladly among your acquaintances, and you will be able yourself unmoved to stand the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
August, 1929 B-P’s Outlook