Resist the Temptation to Move Faster

Elise Boulding

Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Dartmouth College and Former Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Q: What have you found to be the most common obstacles to the success of your work?

A: Getting overloaded. And getting impatient with people, when I can see what can be done and people just don't see it. I have to struggle with my own impatience and try to put myself into their frame of mind and realize where they are. We have to start where they are, not where I am. I try to deal with it by a very conscious stepping outside of my feelings and trying to be more aware.


Q: Were there any techniques that you found useful for dealing with these obstacles? How can you put yourself in a position where you can be more patient?

A: I really had to kind of try to center in myself and not be so cerebral, and be more centered in my own spirit, because the impatience was a cerebral impatience — I could see what we could be doing. I just had to know that the spirit of action has to grow in other people too. They have to have their own time. I don't have any magic answer for impatience because it still happens at 82; you'd think I'd know better by now. One thing I have discovered is that being patient takes energy. Impatience arises when I don't exert enough energy on patience.