Waiting: The Constant Option

All problems have unique and specific solutions. What works in one situation may not work in another. There is, however, one solution that always works. One thing that can solve any problem. A tactic that is always an option but is usually overlooked: the simple act of waiting.

Waiting is easy, but is also quite difficult. Humans, like robots, don’t do well with such paradoxes. Waiting is easy, because all you have to do is not do anything. Waiting is difficult because it requires a person to be passive. You just have to sit by and let things happen without taking control or trying to alter the outcome. We are trained in our lives to be active. To participate. We are taught to avoid boredom, and more importantly, to never waste any precious time. Committing to waiting stands against these learned behaviors.

Waiting is unpopular but is still always possible. If you really want something like a new product or tickets to a show, but they are completely sold out, you have a few options. You can scour the marketplace. If you are persistent enough, and willing to pay a premium, you might get whatever it is you want. Or, you could just wait. Eventually demand will go down and you can have your heart’s desire without hassle or extra cost. Wait long enough, and you might forget you ever wanted the thing at all. Problem solved.


“I still can’t get my hands on a Nintendo Switch!”

If you wait long enough to do your homework, eventually the semester will end. You won’t get a good grade, but you won’t have to worry about homework anymore, either. Wait long enough to pay taxes and eventually they will put you in jail, and you won’t have to pay for anything ever again!

Or maybe you are having a problem at work. Most people would say you should take an active role in fixing the situation. This is fine advice. You can spend time and effort trying to find a solution. Or, you could just wait it out. Maybe the person causing the problem will get fired. Maybe you will get fired, and have completely new problems to deal with. Chances are things will work themselves our in some kind of serendipitous way you didn’t expect.

You never know what could happen if you wait. Bad things could happen. Good things could happen. Either way, something happened. The world will move on, and you won’t have to stress about it.

Even grand problems will go away if you wait long enough. Many of us bemoan the loss of biodiversity on our planet. Sure, things might look bleak now, but wait a couple million years and things will almost certainly diversify again. There are lots of people who are angry with humanity for all the evil things we do to each other. Wait long enough and humans will go extinct, or change into something unrecognizable.

Those are extreme examples. No one can wait for millions of years. At least no one I know about. Giant problems are indeed things worth worrying about. Where are we going? Why are we here? You can struggle to answer these questions, to solve every problem, and that is fine. Or you can just wait and let things work out by themselves. Either way the result is the same. You will eventually die, which is a de-facto solution to all of life’s problems.

So, when in doubt, wait it out. It is not always the best solution. Sometimes its not a very good solution at all. But it is always at least a solution.

Old outhouse

Just don’t wait too long to go to the bathroom.