“Patience has nothing to do with suppression”
— Pema Chodron
I was born early.
Every day since September 19, 1955, I have been impatient. Parts of my life might have been easier if I met Pema Chodron sooner.
My impatience was nurtured in my high school years. I played basketball for a coach, Les Eathorne, who was also impatient. He was not a fan of playing defense or not controlling the basketball. He wanted to score points because scoring was fun.
Les forged his impatience into a basketball philosophy. We pressed the other team the entire length of the court for the entire game. We ran the fast-break off a turnover, a defensive rebound or a made basket by the other team.
We understood that the reason to press was because the ball was still at our end of the court. It was coming back into play under our basket. Therefore, since the ball was closer to our basket, we were still on offense. We just didn’t have the ball yet.
What Les really didn’t like was waiting. And I had found a home inside his basketball world. On his basketball court, impatience was not just valued, it was nurtured, it was encouraged and through four years of practice, it was welded into my way of living.
Today, my impatience has met its biggest challenge with Covid-19. I am having a hard time pressing this disease, out running it, and scoring on it. I have felt suppressed by Covid. We have sold our house and originally planned to move to Europe. That’s not happening for a while. I have found myself investing too much energy in the prospect of a Biden election victory as if Joe Biden is going to alter the course of Covid alone.
That’s not happening either.
This morning, I listened to The Economist interview Bill Gates. Bill said three things that fed my impatience and soothed it.
- He believes that Phase 3 trials could be completed for three to four vaccine developers by December 31, 2020 and by March 31, 2021 “for sure”.
- Vaccine production will be “stitched together” by December 31, 2020.
- He believes that the virus will be “under control” by mid-2021. That, if we can vaccinate 30-60% of the world population (herd immunity), the virus would be under control.
This is hopeful news from a person who actually knows what’s happening and is not just investing Gates Foundation resources but also working hard behind the scenes to align governments and drug manufacturers to work together for the common good.
If you have stayed with me this far, I suspect you are asking, “Hold on, Rick, you began with Les and basketball and now we are discussing Bill Gates and Covid. Connect the dots would you, please?”
Bill calls himself an “impatient optimist”. I had the privilege to work with people at his foundation for 11 years. In that time, I experienced the tension that arises when people attempting to improve lives come face-to-face with limitations that money cannot overcome fast enough. In those moments, Bill would be more impatient than optimist. In essence, he was pressing his team to work faster and get bigger results.
For me, in my lived experience, Les Eathorne and Bill Gates share some common DNA. I believe that their impatience spawned innovation, a faster pace of impact and significant growth in the people they have led and coached. These are two people who see little value in suppression. They are trying to turn people loose, provide room to move and score. They are offering freedom.
I will vote for Joe Biden. He is better prepared to lead my country than the other guy.
But I am all in on Bill Gates. He’s impatient. He understands the vaccine is close to the basket, so he’s pressing. I’m with him. We all need to keep playing offense.
We need to score.