One of my favorite movies growing up was the Princess Bride. My friends and I could practically recite the movie line for line.
In one of the scenes, the character, Inigo Montoya, is supposed to fight the man with the black mask, but must wait while the man in the black mask slowly makes his way up the face of some rocky cliffs. Inigo leans over the edge to tell the man in black to hurry up, but is told he must be patient because climbing the Cliffs of Insanity is “much harder than it looks.” After a brief pause, Inigo mutters, “I hate waiting,” and sends some rope down to expedite the process.
And what is Inigo’s reward for his lack of patience? The man in black quickly beats Inigo in a duel.
One of the things that civility has helped me learn is patience – the ability to wait. I am by no means perfect, but I’ve found that by focusing a bit more on being civil, I am more able to control that urge to jump in, to interrupt, to rush to conclusion or to ignore an inconvenient request.
And often, just that little bit of extra patience saves me from in front of those initial urges to act in ways that get me the exact opposite of what I truly want.
Rule 22: In the midst of discourse ask not of what one treats, but if you perceive any stop because of your coming, you may well entreat him gently to proceed. If a person of quality comes in while you’re conversing, civility asks us to repeat what was said before.
Rule 23. The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.