Feb 082011
Cloud Forest by Luca5

Nature provides much insight about life if we take the time to notice. Being like water for example can help us to manage the problems we face. Then, there is the matter of gradual development. No matter how much we try to rush matters, everything will only unfold at its own time. If we complete a process through excessive haste, the desired outcome will not occur. This applies to many areas in life. Whether it is the growth of a tree or the growth of a relationship or even the growth of a nation, only gradual development can ensure lasting success.

Yijing Hexagram 53: Gradual Development

This hexagram is made up of Sun (wood, penetration) above, i.e., without, and Kên (mountain, stillness) below, i.e., within. A tree on a mountain develops slowly according to the law of its being and consequently stands firmly rooted. This gives the idea of a development that proceeds gradually, step by step. The attributes of the trigrams also point to this: within is tranquillity, which guards against precipitate actions, and without is penetration, which makes development and progress possible.

Hexagram 53 by Ben Finney

The Judgment

Development. The maiden
Is given in marriage.
Good fortune.
Perseverance furthers.

The development of events that leads to a girl’s following a man to his home proceeds slowly. The various formalities must be disposed of before the marriage takes place. This principle of gradual development can be applied to other situations as well; it is always applicable where it is a matter of correct relationships of co-operation, as for instance in the appointment of an official. The development must be allowed to take its proper course. Hasty action would not be wise.

This is also true, finally, of any effort to exert influence on others, for here too the essential factor is a correct way of development through cultivation of one’s own personality. No influence such as that exerted by agitators has a lasting effect.

Within the personality too, development must follow the same course if lasting results are to be achieved. Gentleness that is adaptable, but at the same time penetrating, is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm. The very gradualness of the development makes it necessary to have perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress from dwindling to nothing.

The Image

On the mountain, a tree:
The image of Development.
Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue,
In order to improve the mores.

The tree on the mountain is visible from afar, and its development influences the landscape of the entire region. It does not shoot up like a swamp plant; its growth proceeds gradually. Thus also the work of influencing people can be only gradual. No sudden influence or awakening is of lasting effect. Progress must be quite gradual, and in order to obtain such progress in public opinion and in the mores of the people, it is necessary for the personality to acquire influence and weight. This comes about through careful and constant work on one’s own moral development.

After Work Rush Hour by Andreas

A Fast-Paced Society

We cannot rush the growth of a tree no matter how hard we try. All we can do is to make sure that nothing hinders its process of growth. As it is with a tree, so it is with events in human life. We cannot rush the development of affairs whether it is work, relationships, challenges and so on.

Yet this is not an easy concept to apply to our lives. We live in a fast-paced world where speed is of the essence. The slightest delay causes irritation for most of us. If matters drag on for far too long, we lack the perseverance and give up. If we do not give up, we may well be so impatient, that we are willing to get the job done at any cost. We may even resort to taking short cuts and cutting corners if it is faster. But taking short cuts in most cases is not prudent. What we gain in the short term may not be worth the trouble in the long term.

The Dangers of Rushing the Process

There is always a price to pay for everything. If we rush events before their time, there is bound to be repercussions, which is the price for excessive haste. What we gain in speed, we have to pay for later in some other area. In some cases, others may pay the price for us.

We cannot create anything of lasting value when we rush through the process. Whether we like it or not, events have a process of vital steps that will lead to the intended outcome. If we skip any of these steps, we may compromise the entire process as a result. This may cause problems later.

For example, I read that a pharmacy gave a pregnant woman abortion drugs instead of the antibiotics she needed. Naturally, the pharmacy released a statement saying it has systems and processes in place to prevent such mishaps. But clearly, they are not enough if the staff do indeed follow the systems strictly. Or in this case, they may have failed to do so. It could be that the pharmacy was short-handed and could not adhere to the proper steps of the process. How else could a mishap of this magnitude occur? Who knows how the drugs have already affected the unborn child? It is regrettable that an unborn child has to pay the price.

Japanese White Pine since 1625 by Sage Ross

The Nature and Benefits of Gradual Development

Gradual development is not the same as being slow. It is the completion of all the necessary steps in a sure and steady manner to ensure lasting success. If there are ten necessary steps to a process, we cannot miss even one. If we did so, the process would be likely to fail. Whether it is the growth of an idea or the maturity of a child to adulthood, everything in this world needs time to develop. But the development does not happen in a haphazard manner. There are certain best practices to follow in every situation. This is the Tao of events.

To assure our success, we have to put in time and effort to complete all the steps. In this way, we gain the experience needed to repeat and sustain the success we have in the future. But once we have done all we can, we have to allow events to unfold at its own time and place. Only by doing so, will we be able to the needless mistakes that could arise because of our haste and speed. But that is not all. When we see the process of gradual development right to the end, we save time, money and effort that we can put to better use elsewhere.

The Cycle of Lasting Success

It is true that there are cases where we have to seize the opportunity. If we hesitate, we could miss our only chance. But here we have to ask ourselves if we are truly ready for the opportunity. If we are not, our success gained through lightning speed will be just as fleeting. To worsen matters, our subsequent fall from grace could be devastating.

Again, the process of gradual development underlies success. Lasting success only happens if we have laid the foundations for it through our hard work and preparation. Only then will we be ready to seize the moment when it appears before us. Even so, the attainment of success is the beginning, not the end. There is still much work to do to consolidate our gains. And so, we return to gradual development. Such is the cycle of lasting success.

Our Role in Gradual Development

We have a vital part to play in the gradual development of events that affect our lives. If we wish to take charge of our destinies, we have to shape our futures with our choices and actions. This means taking all the needed steps in the process to bring our plans to fruition. Without the time and effort from us, our dreams will never become a reality.

After doing all we can, we need to make room for events to unfold naturally. This requires patience. But as far as possible, our patience should not be one of passive waiting. Instead, we should wait actively. How then do we wait actively? The answer is simple. As events develop at its own pace, we should be do all we can to aid the process. If there is nothing to do to influence events directly, we could channel our efforts to other matters that need our attention. By clearing all the matters that hold our attention and energy, we end up with less on our plate and minds. This way, when the time comes we will be ready to seize the opportunity to attain our goals.

General Sherman Tree by Dawn Beattie

Taking Action

Do you have difficulty with the gradual development of events? What are some of the ways you use to cope when you have to wait? Is there anything else I may have missed in my article? Do share your thoughts and comments below. :)


The I-Ching or Book of Changes Translated by Richard Wilhelm, Cary F. Baynes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to my RSS feed and spread the word below. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

  20 Responses to “The Relationship Between Gradual Development and Lasting Success”

  1. I don’t consider patience as one of my best assets. That is why Patience is something that I intend to cultivate more of. It’s particularly important when it comes to spiritual growth. Spiritual growth cannot be hurried. And so I have to allow things to take its course.

    What do I do when I need to wait? I have already remembered the advice given by a Buddhist monk to have a cup of tea if nothing can be done. So I try to do that. I keep myself occupied with my art, go out and talk shop or watch TV (cooking shows mostly…ha)! Sometimes, I will use my divination cards, only to find that the advice is about having patience. And at other times, I would simply sit in silence.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..Abundance Alchemy- Answers to Your QuestionsMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Considering our common background, it is easy to see why patience is not your best asset. I too tend to be impatient when much is at stake, patience is also something I have to work at.

      Having a cup of tea when there is nothing else to do is wise. It is uncanny isn’t it, divining the need for patience when that is what the situation requires. After so many years, I am still amazed by the profound insights that divination has to a given situation. All in all, you seem to know how to keep yourself occupied when you have to wait.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  2. Oh, yes, this hit home, as most all your posts do for me! Learning to be “comfortable with uncertainty” (a title by Pema Chodron) has been a huge challenge for me in my life. I used to (used to?!) get very pushy with people, circumstances, the universe. I would like to think that I have become much wiser, perhaps just older. I seem willing and able now to take a more patient approach, to wait, to watch, to pay attention.

    It occurs to me that this advice is relevant to two different situations. In one situation, you really don’t know what is coming. Patience is needed until the path is revealed.

    In the other situation, you might see where things are headed, but at a necessary pace. In that situation, patience is needed to allow natural development.

    I can look back an many times in my life when I jumped in or jumped ahead too fast. Your advice regarding active waiting is perfect because it shows that patience is not passive. It is constructive.

    Thank you for another post full of wisdom!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Joy in the MorningMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      I believe that a large part of our impatience stems from societal conditioning. But as we get older, we learn there is nothing else we can do but take things in our stride.

      Yes, you have expanded on my points perfectly. Patience is needed when we know and don’t know what is coming. I have always found it harder to wait when I don’t know what is coming. But as I get older, it is not as bad as it used to be. As long as I practice active waiting, all will be well.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  3. Irving, sorry to have been such a stranger. I was subscribed via email to your posts and then, one day, stopped getting updates. I just signed up again. Weird.

    Great post. Have you ever tried to rush the system? I know I have. And the results are just as you might mention on this blog. If they do work, they don’t work well, and they certainly don’t relieve the anxiety you have over them. Patience is one of life’s true virtues. If you can master it – it doesn’t come naturally – and remain persistent, it’s amazing what can happen.

    I hope you’re well, my friend. If you should have a chance, I gave you a mention on my latest post. I hope you’ll like it.
    Bryan Thompson recently posted..If an All-Knowing Neighbor Gave You the Answers to Life- Would You ListenMy Profile

    • Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for signing up again. I have been having some problems with my RSS feed and all. That is probably the reason why you stopped getting updates.

      Yeap, like you I had to learn patience the hard way. It is definitely not an easy lesson to learn in this day and age.

      Yes I have already read and commented on that post. Thank you for the mention, I appreciate it! :)

  4. Hi Irving,
    I can really relate to this post. I used to resent how long it took progress. My patience was lacking. I still get frustrated at times, but I try my best to enjoy the journey. No one can go straight from A to Z. Learning takes place in the journey. The older I get I can see that time really does pass by fast. Thanks so much Irving! Great job on this!
    Dandy recently posted..Self-gratitudeMy Profile

    • Hi Dandy,

      Being patient as we go through the process step by step can be really difficult. I would know since I struggle with this from time to time myself. But if we persevere, we find that the end results is truly worth it. And as you say, time really does pass by fast.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  5. Hi Irving,

    I guess it’s quite like building a house. While it might be tempting to rush the job because we want the end result, without taking proper care with the foundations, the whole thing will fall down.

    Patience is certainly a difficult attitude to develop – or keep hold of when we get it ;-) I’m actually quite a patient person and believe in the ‘slow burn’ approach to achieving things.

    When I do lose my patience, it’s usually at bureaucracy, red tape or procedures. Then, I remind myself that there’s nothing I can do directly about these things myself – and I take a deep breath and find my patience again ;-)
    Scott McIntyre | Vivid Ways recently posted..Stop Trying to be Perfect Because Your Best is Good EnoughMy Profile

    • Hi Scott,

      Your analogy of building a house drives home my point perfectly about gradual development and lasting success.

      It is great that you are patient by nature because it goes a long way in helping us to attain our goals. I love how you take a very pragmatic view of things when you lose your patience and find your calm center quickly. Usually, just by realizing that I have no influence over something helps me to regain my composure and wait it out.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  6. This post is a feast in many ways Irving. Thankyou.

    Denver has been experiencing a lot of truly cold weather the past few weeks (like many parts of the US). In my wisdom, I (we) installed a new furnace 2-3 months ago to replace the 30-year-old veteran that was here when we bought our home.

    “Ah, everything will be fine now,” I thought to myself. But life does what it wants to do. Long story short, the new furnace was not up to the task, kept breaking down. Get it fixed, think all is well. Another terrible night, oops, furnace breaks down again.

    Did I think I was a magnificent one immune to feelings of distress etc? Not so fast. Yesterday, a happy ending (or beginning). Someone came who really knew what was wrong with the furnace and relaxation is possible.

    I am thankful for all of it. Most of all I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to be reminded again and again of what is not disturbed by any outer event: and thus continue the process of gradual development and unfoldment of which you speak so beautifully. So long Irving.
    Christopher Foster recently posted..5 secrets of a strong- loving relationshipMy Profile

    • Hi Christopher,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the furnace. It is so easy to lose sight of the big picture when we are in the midst of frustration and freezing our butts off in the process. I am glad that in the end, you managed to get your furnace going. Your ability to be thankful even when things don’t go your way is something many of us can learn from.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  7. Hi Irving,
    Really nice to see this topic elaborated on. I am one who is quite patient with processes… so much so I often wonder what’s wrong with me. So many people (including those who are looked up to) are rushing ahead at breakneck speed.
    I sure did get impatient with a support process yesterday though. It took me 1 1/2 hrs. just to renew a subscription. That is NOT the kind of process I’m patient with, at least not after the first 45 min. ;-)
    Another great article. Thanks!
    Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being recently posted..What Juicy Details Could We Uncover About YOUR RelationshipMy Profile

    • Hi Patti,

      To be kept waiting for 45 minutes is a great waste of time, especially when you have many other things to do. I won’t really consider this as gradual development and somewhere we have to draw the line to get things moving again or to defer it to a later time where necessary.

      But that aside, yes, many people would indeed do well to let events unfold gradually and naturally instead of trying to rush them.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  8. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lightspirited Being, Irving. Irving said: Newly published. The Relationship between Gradual Development and Lasting Success http://goo.gl/fb/iIgnB [...]

  9. [...] One thing I always stress is that, for working online, there is no path to instant success.  My belief is that there is no instant path to success in life for anything.  Everything worthwhile takes time, effort and patience.  Trying to jump to the endgame or create shortcuts simply causes more trouble than actual help.  With that in mind, “the Vizier” gives us a really good article on the importance of patience and gradual development for lasting success. [...]

  10. I am generally a very impatient person, and when under normal circumstances, the way I cope with events that are unfolding too slowly is to simply drop it from my mind and not care about it. I have trained myself to forget about it and focus on something i love and want to do. That way, when the opportunity arises, I am so focused on what I’m currently doing that it has ceased to be a special thing in my mind and is now a bit of an interruption. It gives me perspective, and I’ve taken away the specialness of it that was holding me in its power.

    Delena Silverfox@Coupon Codes recently posted..Hostgator Coupon CodeMy Profile

    • Hi Delena,

      It is a very useful skill to detach ourselves from things we have no control over. To be able to channel our energies to other productive pursuits instead of passive waiting is a more efficient way to use our time and energy. Being objective and detached allows us to seize the opportunity when it arises to reach the goals we seek.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  11. Patience and mindfulness are such key virtues. You only have so many minutes in your life, rushing through tasks yo get to the next makes no sense – do it right is always better tha do it quick.
    Bob recently posted..Who Should Fund ‘Big Society’My Profile

    • Hi Bob,

      I love that quote, “do it right is always better than do it quick” or to do it twice or thrice. There is nothing more wasteful than having to repeat a job because of needless mistakes. It wastes time, energy and opportunities that come our way. By being patient and mindful, we can get the job done once and for all.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline