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Patience: Use it before you lose it

Shivanand Pandit 
on 25 August 2014

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Patience is a virtue. Patience is a kind of love. It has never been easy to be patient, but it is conceivably stiffer now than at any time in history. In a world where messages and information can be sent across the world rapidly, everything is available with only a few clicks of the mouse. Fortunately, patience can be cultivated and nurtured over time. Patience is the state of fortitude under problematic or challenging situations. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity or pessimism. It is also used to refer to the character attribute of being persistent. The ability to wait for something without getting angry or upset is a treasurable characteristic in a person. “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open.” The more patient we are with others, the likelier we are to be viewed optimistically by our peers, managers, members of family and friends.

Patience is one of those qualities that does not get much consideration -- especially in our fast-paced era. But there is resplendent wisdom in it. Patience is what aids us let go of an unconstructive obsession or captivation with outcomes and with our limited identities. “Patience and fortitude conquer all things.” It is a recognition that our reality is in flux and we do not always know what is best. Practiced deeply, patience is what liquefies unexamined reactions and habits of explanation, allowing us to see things in a way that is more real, more whole, more true. But the trouble with patience is that it usually comes too little, too late. We live in a “now” culture. Waiting has become a common antagonist. We want to call our friends now, even if we will see them in five minutes.  We want pills and surgery to lose weight instantly, rather than streamlining our diet and exercising. We want to have the best life possible right now, not tomorrow, and surely not next year. We want instant results. We look for instant gratification or delight. Our bonds are loose. Our commitments are shaky. We bring restlessness or restiveness into every aspect of our lives. We do not listen to other good–naturedly. Many times we do not even remember what we have done during the day or previous days. We just do not appreciate anything easily.

Why Practice Patience?

Others often see impatient people as arrogant, egotistic, insensitive, unsympathetic, wacky and impulsive. They can be viewed as poor decision makers, because they make quick judgments or interrupt people. Some people will even avoid impatient people, because of their poor people skills and bad tempers. People with these personality traits are unlikely to be at the top of the list for promotions to leadership positions. Impatience can even affect relationships at home.

Frequently asked questions about patience are, In a need driven society where we are judged by what we accomplish and what we have how can anyone practice patience? How can we cultivate patience in a fast changing world, amidst impatient people? How can we assure ourselves that if we wait for something or someone, we will not lose our competitive edge? The answer is we need to know when to slowdown and when to run in the race of our lives. There is a time for everything.

Cultivating Patience is a journey.

Patience does not come naturally. Patience is a skill, not an inborn talent, and therefore can be acquired by anyone with the will to learn. Sometimes, patience could indeed be quite a hard thing to accomplish. We have to face the truth–we humans are all impatient and anxious. However, there are just some who managed to suppress it within them and have succeeded in being patient. Patience is a sign of maturity. Cultivating patience gets us out of the instantaneous gratification model of thinking. It makes us aware of our surroundings and allows for breakthroughs to occur. Cultivating patience supports the belief that we know we will get what we want in due time. It is the bridge connecting our vision to our end game and without it, nothing of great achievement will ever be accomplished. So how do we develop patience before we actually need it? What is the purpose of building patience abilities?

To acquire patience, we must learn not to act on impulse, but change our thinking and attitude, and reach out for support and encouragement. To learn the necessary patience and determination to reach long-term goals, practice on small things first, and learn how to sort through what is worth exercising patience, and what is not. Patience is a learnable virtue. One can learn techniques that make it possible for us to be more patient. With this in mind, below mentioned invaluable measures can be implemented for cultivating patience:

i. Figure out your triggers.

As we become more aware of losing our patience, we should pay close attention to the things that trigger us to lose that patience. Certain triggers will recur more frequently than others — these are the things we should focus on the most.

ii. Start small.

We should not try to become as patient as Job overnight. We should start with something small and manageable. We should look for a trigger that only induces a mild impatience within us — not something that gets our blood boiling. Then we should focus on this, and forget the other triggers for now. One at a time, and with practice, we will reach the goal.

iii. Remember what’s important.

Sometimes we tend to get upset over little things. In the long run, these things tend not to matter, but in the heat of the moment, we might forget this. We should stop ourselves, and try to get things in perspective.

iv. Keep practicing.

Every time a situation stretches our patience to dangerous thinness, we should just think of it as an opportunity to practice our patience. The more we practice, the better we will get. So we should cherish these wonderful opportunities to practice.

v. Remember that things can take time.

 Nothing good happens right away. If we expect things to happen at the snap of our fingers, we will get impatient every time. Instead, we must realize that things will take time, and this realization can help our patience tremendously.

vi. Find healthy ways to relieve frustration.

Frustration can build up like steam in a pressure cooker, and if we do not relieve that steam, we will explode. So we should find ways to relieve that frustration in a healthy way. Once we get that frustration out of your system, we usually feel better.

vii. Take a time out to notice all of the good things. 

Begin by noticing that every time we breathe in, there is fresh air available. That, right there is wonderful, and it is only one of ten thousand ways that life supports us, every day, with living a great life. When we pause to notice, we will appreciate how much more life is in our favour rather than against us. Just realizing this calms us, which in turn promotes patience.

viii. Widen your perspective.

Sometimes in a moment of frustration, we forget that we can stop, take a step back, breathe deeply, and tap into our inner source of understanding and compassion where we are better able to see the truth of a situation. When we regularly practice being patient, we uncover a new level of awareness that allows us to see more possibilities than the ones we have become accustomed to. Our perspective widens; we truly become more open and receptive in all areas of our life.

ix. Go easy with your expectations.

Some days there are plenty of opportunities to lose our patience. This is especially true when our expectations of others, situations, and even ourselves are not being met. “Expectation is the root of all heartache,” says William Shakespeare. We could easily say here that expectation leads to our impatience of life the way it is and takes away our ability to feel happiness and security—this is heartache!

In conclusion, we should remember that many of life's miracles often do not happen quickly. They require patience. Life often reveals its mysteries with patience. Difficult problems sometimes solve themselves with patience. We grow into healthy, functioning adults with patience. Impatience is self-destructive because we tie ourselves down with a rope of unhealthy thoughts. Many of us struggle with impatience. But if we want healthy work relationships and a successful career, then we need to spend time making patience a habit. Learning patience is the surest way to be able to accomplish our goals and dreams. The amount of patience we have in daily life and in relationships can determine how much we enjoy our life. Without patience many of our actions would be counter-productive and ultimately much time and energy would be wasted spinning our wheels. The more patience we practice, the more resourceful, composed, compassionate and mindful we become as a leader. Despite our need for speed, life demands a certain amount of patience.

SHIVANAND PANDIT,

Financial Analyst and Adviser,

MARGAO-GOA-INDIA.  

EMAIL: panditgoa@gmail.com


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