"Patience is the living heart of ethics"
Irene Mc Mullin.

I am always looking for new approaches to my projects, and sometimes research is done by reading philosophy. The other day I came across an interesting article based on the American philosopher Irene Mc Mullin.


“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” 

- David G. Allen

Patience is a neglected virtue, she claims. We do not appreciate patience as much as courage, or generosity because it requires that we restraint ourselves. In business, we don`t recognize patience as a good leadership value, for example, by a leader stepping aside to let others participate in the creative process.


“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” 
― Hal Borland

Patience is in this definition of letting others have a go, dampen our own desire to speed up the process or speed up directional choices. Perhaps even set your own need for recognition aside to let other people shine.

Mc Mullin's article about patience has interesting parallels to the philosophy on slow design. I often claim it's not necessarily about everything taking a lot of time, but about allowing the processes to unfold at  it´s natural pace. The slow philosophy is therefore also about patience, putting your own need for things to happen in a particular pace aside. It could also be to recognize that there are people involved in the process, that you will never meet, but who still deserves your respect for example in form of fair terms.


"The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” 

- H.J.M Nouwen

Patience is a trait that we can develop. An awareness on when and where a bit of patience would contribute to greater goods for all, would perhaps be a very good tool for not only designers, but all of us in all kind of situations. At least it`s a good place to start.  


“Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its own unhurried pace.” 
― Brian L. Weiss,

Read the whole article on Irene Mc Mullin here

University of Arkansas


Marianne Vigtel Hølland