Be patient with people, it takes time to improve PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Tuesday, 14 March 2017 08:17

It’s amazing to watch young people begin a venture then work to get better over time.

I’ve written in this space about how I watched a group of third-grade students grow to be seniors in high school, who have helped lead Eastern to the state finals in girls’ basketball.

But this column today is not about the players or kids, or young people in general, it’s about all of us – and our potential for growth in all things we do.

I read an article recently that stated, “it takes five years or longer for you to develop and get good at whatever it is you are doing.”

There were some stats to back up the claim. As I reflected on the ventures in my life, I could see that truth played out. Maybe not exactly five years to the day, but it did take time to get better.

I have heard coaches say how much they’ve improved with time.

One coach told me after winning a close game recently, “we might have lost that in my early years.”

There is no better teacher than experience.

Facing the firing squad today, even if we fail, prepares us all for the next time live bullets are coming at us. Some times we fail more than once before developing the skill set to win!

It stands to reason that if an athlete can improve in time, so can a coach. In fact, they not only can, but should.

Borden boys’ basketball Head Coach Doc Nash, who has reached the pinnacle of the coaching mountain by winning a state championship, told me recently that he is not at all above gleaning things from other coaches and applying them in his program.

That’s a smart practice in sports, but do we do that in our everyday lives?

I know pastors who are always looking for ways to improve their preaching and leading of their flocks at churches.

Some of the best advice I ever got about writing came from Yahoo Sports Columnist Pat Forde. He told me when I was an eager writer at the U of L newspaper, “Two things George, write all you can and read all you can from other writers.”

Forde said writing any chance I got would help me develop experience and reading would help me hone my craft.

He said even if no one is ever going to see the story you wrote, write it anyway.

I took that advice and have had a full-time job as a writer for the past 17 years. I get a pay check to do what I love doing.

I still apply those principals today. I try to write as much as I can and read as much as I can from other writers. I visit a web site that posts the top 10 sports columns in our country every day. Some days, I skim the subject and don’t read any and other days I read five or six of the posted pieces.

I think from the time I started doing this every day back in 2000, I have improved a lot as a writer, and I hope in another 10 years I am better than I am today.


I think back to the times when I reacted poorly, or got upset over things that really didn’t amount to anything.

I think parenting for 19 years has helped me become a better parent.

What about you? What about other areas of our lives?

My point is this, the next time we feel the desire to criticize someone, maybe consider where they are on their journey.

“Those officials were horrible!”

There are tons of officials who I know personally and I don’t think any of them woke up today trying to cheat a kid out of a basket.

Coaches? Same thing, most of them would rather win than take their next breath, so they didn’t make that mistake because they wanted to.

The kid at McDonald’s may have been working there for less than a week, so maybe cut them some slack before losing your cool.

Take time to look at the areas in your life that you’ve worked to improve. Even if it didn’t take five years to become good at them, I bet if you are honest, it took time.

I found that if that’s the lense I look through in life, I am a heck of a lot more patient with people who I cross paths with.

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Bilichek has won five Super Bowls and coached in seven, but in his first stop as a Head Coach at Cleveland he was fired.

That kid who forgot to put the fries in your bag, may be just starting out in life.

Chances are they will learn from that mistake and could eventually perform surgery that saves someone’s life.

Not many of us are where we want to be in life, but I hope all of us are determined not to stay where we are today either.

What are some things you’ve gotten good at over time? Let me know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .