Written by Paula O’Sullivan
‘Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success ‘– Brian Adams (quote)
Patience is a skill, patience is a virtue, patience comes natural to some of us but for many it’s something we have to learn. Most of us would be familiar with the proverb ‘All good things come to he who waits’, a wise observation ,but does it go a little unheeded in this super fast world? We can have meals in minutes from a microwave, we can connect with each other within seconds, no matter where we are in the world, we want everything now, we have become very used to having everything now, so have we forgotten how to be patient?
As I was researching for this article I came across a little quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience’, and that got me thinking, yes that’s it really… we only have to look around us to see this. Nature takes it’s time, it has a natural flow hasn’t it? Many of us are like impatient gardeners who sow seeds and before we give them a chance to germinate, rush out and start tearing them up again to see how they are progressing. I have experienced this in the area of personal growth at the beginning of my present journey. I wanted to be free of all the pain NOW. I was impatient that I would HAVE to read some books, listen to CDs etc I thought, this will take forever! I was impatient. But here I am eight months later, a patient person and I didn’t even set out to deal with being patient either! It just happened. I think it happened because I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t possibly learn all I needed to know in an instant, that it would take time, and that it didn’t actually matter how long it took, because the important thing was that I begin at once, because time passes anyway, so I set out to make each moment count, and I did, and I am, and I will continue.
When we develop patience we reduce stress levels, we become happier and healthier. We don’t get as angry with people and situations. We make better decisions, as we see the bigger picture more clearly, we take the time to assess the situation properly and lessen the chance of making big mistakes. We develop compassion, empathy and understanding, which helps our relationships become more fulfilling.
So how do we become patient?
- Start with the thought ‘I am becoming more patient’. Choose a day to start and make a big effort that day to take your time about everything you do. Think about everything you do. Observe all the ways where you could be more patient, observe where you have made a difference by trying to be more patient and practice daily. Developing patience takes persistence and effort. Practice makes perfect!
- Think before you speak, think of consequences, will your comment offend or hurt someone? Can you hold back saying something or making a decision until you’ve thought about it properly?
- Slow down. Stop rushing around trying to hurry things up. Go with the flow. If you’re stuck in traffic, or in a queue, take the opportunity to enjoy the scenery. People watch, look at all the other angry faces! If you have music TURN IT UP! Or take a few deep breaths. Accept that you getting yourself worked up isn’t actually going to get you to the top any faster, so you may as well relax and enjoy the moment!
- Accept that we can’t always have instant gratification. We need to plan realistically if we want to achieve goals for instance. Sometimes laying out a small series of stages can help us be patient in the process of achieving. ie stage 1, research, go to library, internet, find out what you need. Stage two, do a course, read a series of books etc, you see where I’m going with this?
- Finally, accept that there are some things that we can’t change in our lives, and our getting impatient won’t help the situation, and if we ourselves can just do our best from moment to moment and day to day, I think it is possible for everyone to learn to be patient.
I’ll leave you with this thought provoking quote ‘He that can have patience, can have what he will’ – Benjamin Franklin. Wow! Now there’s a thought!