Stop waiting and start acting

16 Dec, 2018 - 00:12 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Milton Kamwendo 

There is great value in waiting, if you know what you are waiting for and why you are waiting.

Strategy is being prepared for opportunity when it comes.

Build capacity is no idle occupation. Be diligent in your waiting, and you will have made use of your time wisely. Be purposeful in your waiting, and you will be known as a strategist.

There is great risk in waiting if you think that change will happen without your participation and active involvement.

Knowing where you are and being clear about where you intend to go and how you will get there makes waiting an essential part of your strategy. The idle wait, while mindlessly complaining.

The strategic lose no time and make waiting an opportunity for focusing, priority settings and building stamina.

Never lose hope and never discount the power of faith.

Those who see the invisible always do the impossible. Hope is good if it is anchored in faith and is in pursuit of a noble vision.

Mindless waiting without any vision is a risk and trap. Undiluted hope is not a strategy. Losing hope and becoming cynical and negative is not a step in executing your strategy playbook. The great know how to use their waiting time.

Waiting for Godot

Waiting, waiting and waiting doing nothing and waiting again and again is a tragedy. You may have heard of a play entitled, “Waiting for Godot” that was written by Samuel Beckett in 1949. Initially the play was in French and its English version premiered in London in 1955 with a subtitle, “a tragicomedy in two acts”. This short play lends itself to various themes and interpretations all of which converge on one theme – waiting, what you do while waiting and how you behave while waiting.

Beckett’s Play is principally two characters, Vladimir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), who dutifully wait for the arrival of someone named Godot, who regrettably never arrives. Check carefully what you are waiting for, it may also be waiting for you. Do not wait for a silver bullet or a lucky break. Focus on process and deliberate action.

In the play, “Waiting for Godot”, Vladimir and Estragon, are on a barren road by a leafless tree with five leaves. The world of this play operates with its own set of rules. A lot is said, and lot is done in the waiting process, but essentially nothing happens, nothing is certain, and there is never anything to do, except wait and wait some more.

Let this rule not be the rule of play in your own life. Raising dust but doing nothing is not a clever way of living life.

Making noise and courting attention while essentially doing nothing is wasting time. Be deliberate, and intentional. Live your life on purpose not just default animal settings and knee-jerk responses.

While Vladimir and Estragon are waiting they engage in a variety of seemingly difficult and engaging personal tasks, like taking off and on boots that are stuck and stinking, and having to endure smelling feet.

They engage in trivial conversations about turnips and carrots, interspersed with more serious reflections on issues important to them. They hear voices, they are interrupted, they brood, they hope and despair. They have to wait still. Never think that if you stop and start waiting, the whole world will stop with you. Time marches forward.

They engage in rounds of discussions, and exchanges that pass time. They wait still for Godot, they are certain he will show up, he is their answer.

They encounter three other characters who participate in the play, with one result – the wait continues, expectations are frustrated, and the idle discussions continue. Hats are changed, and interchanged. Games are played. Food is nibbled. The wait continues.

Do not join the band wagon of idle waiting. There is no silver bullet, no quick solution that require you to do nothing except reap benefits. Such idle thinking is dangerous and against the laws of nature and compensation.

What is clever about the play, “Waiting for Godot” is that even the audience is put into a “waiting mode”. It waits for that event, that break and that highlight, that coming of Godot, that regrettably also never comes. In your wait you put others in waiting mode.

Take the brake pedal off your life and start working your life and putting feet to your plans. Take your life off the “pause” button and engage the “play” button.

You have personal issues that you still have to deal with – deal with them. No one can take a bath on your behalf. No global changes will come and change personal issues that you defer dealing with. Take personal responsibility for your life. Stop waiting for Godot.

Vladimir and Estragon, wait for Godot, a man who never appears or explains why. He however sends messages through his errand boy indicating that he would not come just yet in two instances.

The two waiting men have to occupy themselves in the business of waiting and do not seem to be able to do anything else except wait with increasing desperation. Memory and the bias it creates is another powerful theme in this book.

The two friends, are not sure if they have met Godot, if they are waiting in the right place, if this is the right day, or even whether Godot is going to show up at all.

Do not use your memory against yourself. If you are going to carry anything from the past, let it never be the roots of bitterness but the best parts of the past.

The two are soon interrupted by the arrival of Lucky, who has a rope tied around his neck, and Pozzo, his master, who is holding the other end of the long rope.

The four men proceed to do together what Vladimir and Estragon did earlier by themselves: namely, nothing. Knowing what to do is not enough if you do not do it. Long idle conversations are not a substitute for action.

Lucky and Pozzo then leave so that Vladimir and Estragon can go back to doing nothing by themselves. Vladimir suggests that this is not the first time he has met with Lucky and Pozzo, which is surprising, since they acted like strangers upon arrival. Then again, Estragon cannot even remember a conversation ten lines after it happens. In this play it is clear we are not going to depend on memory. So it is with life, the past is not a sufficient predictor of the future. Past success is not a guarantee of future success.

The nothingness is interrupted by the arrival of the Boy, who reports to Vladimir that Godot is not coming today, but will be there tomorrow. This brings some glimmer of hope to the wait but does not end it. However, Vladimir in his comments suggest that the Boy has said this before. The wait continues and seems to be some noble but despairing occupation.

Estragon and Vladimir now in desperation talk about the prospect of suicide and resolve to leave the stage, since it is nightfall and they no longer have to wait for Godot. Having resolved to leave, neither man moves, and the curtain closes on Act I. A decision is not a decision until you take action. Stop being obsessed with death and be focused on living. You go where your attention goes.

In Act II, the men still sit around waiting for Godot and try to fill the idle hours in the meantime. Appearing and acting busy is not the same as being busy. Lucky and Pozzo show up again, only that this second time, Lucky has gone mute and Pozzo is blind.

They put around the stage for a while, Pozzo declaring that having lost his eyes he now has lost sense of time. Lucky declares nothing, because mute.

Vladimir gets rather poetic in the meantime, wondering if maybe he is sleeping, agreeing with Pozzo’s claim that life is fleeting, and concluding that habit is the great deadener of life. So the waiting continues. Until you break your idle waiting habits your life will remain in limbo.

Thinking alone is not enough or a complete strategy. Conversation that is not productive passes time but does not inspire positive action or change.

Pozzo and Lucky leave again, just in time for the Boy to show up and tell Vladimir that Godot is not coming today, but will be there tomorrow. The two “waiters” seem to despair but cannot do anything else except wait. The talk of leaving, and other actions but they are hamstrung. Their self-assigned lot is waiting. They remain at the same place doing what they have dutifully mastered – waiting some more.

Vladimir and Estragon’s mindset suggests despair. They contemplate suicide, but have no rope but they think to hang themselves from the barren tree, that seems to lend itself to a likely use. The men resolve to leave, since it is nightfall and they no longer have to wait for Godot, but neither man dares to move and the curtain falls. The play ends, but we think everyone knows what happens next and continued to happen. Who has been witnessing your waiting and can they predict that you are still waiting?

Waiting for Godot sounds all too familiar.

You cannot keep waiting, while life streams by. It is time to take action and to engage life seriously. Time is passing on and moving. Today is the youngest that you will ever be. Excuse me! while you are waiting, life is not waiting, neither is time.

Excuses do not count and you do not afford the luxury of purposeless waiting.

In your attente (wait), be strategic and develop some big moves that you start to put in motion. There is something useful and purposeful that you can do today to break the inertia. Doing the usual and expecting different results in despair. Your character is revealed in your ability to wait and what you do while you are waiting. Waiting without learning anything and preparing for nothing is time wasting. Waiting and hesitating to take action when you must is not for you.


Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and motivational speaker, author, and executive coach. He is a cutting strategy, team-building and organisation development facilitator and consultant. He can be reached at: [email protected]  and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634. His website is:


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