The bus is late again. What is taking her so long to get ready? Is the waitress ever going to bring us our drinks? These are a few small examples of the countless number of inconveniences we experience on a daily basis. They pluck at our nerves, cause stress and at times take us to the edge of sanity.
Not to mention they can be much, much worse. When it comes to waiting, we all generally fall into one of two simple categories: patient and impatient. It is those who are able to keep their cool that more often than not come out ahead, accept more responsibility and foster productive relationships.
People who demonstrate consistently patient behavior are recognized in a positive light over the course of time. Women love a patient man. It is a superior quality to possess yet extremely difficult to master; sometimes it just feels plain unnatural. Those who lose their ability to remain calm stand out as well, but more likely in a negative way.
Which do you prefer? Everyone is wired differently and at the end of the day these are just words on a screen, but try to envision taking true control of your mind and emotions in order to assess and digest any situation. It will change your life in many ways.
I recently heard a lawyer speak on the subject of capital punishment and his resounding theme was to look at the big picture instead of cutting problems into smaller pieces. He demonstrated the legal process from crime and conviction to eventual execution, and urged the audience to think outside of the box.
How did the criminal reach that point and what can we (as lawyers, citizens, lawmakers, parents, etc.) do to mitigate such circumstances? What effect can we have on society as a whole? Patient people are masters at this sort of thinking and apply it daily.
Another way to approach patience is to unconditionally accept that delays and roadblocks will occur and to plan accordingly. Plan to wait, and then plan against it. Before entering a situation, casually imagine stressful scenarios. A common example is in preparing for a trip.
There are certain essentials like cash, tickets, chargers and identification residing on top of your “do not forget” list. Bring portable snacks and plenty of music or reading material in case you are delayed for longer than expected or you come across the worst baby of all time.
The point is, whenever possible, picture stress then defend your sanity with all available resources and foresight. You will thank yourself later (others may thank you too) and will have begun to develop a very healthy habit.
Practice the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Instead of reacting in a knee-jerk fashion to the needy client or the disobedient dog, try to visualize and react to the factors that are attributing to that behavior. What is within your power to make the situation better? Will you administer patience in order to solve problems or throw gas on the flames?
Grace under fire is a byproduct of patience and a useful, attractive and contagious quality applicable to seemingly every part of life. It strengthens the mind like any other stress test, perhaps preparing for a more serious situation on the horizon.
“Virtue” is defined as a particular moral excellence. Take a second to think about everything you associate with excellence. Now imagine rising to that level. Patience is a virtue because it encourages the positive development of our individual moral code. It has the ability to push us to the status we all strive to achieve – elite. Begin to cultivate a mind that breeds success and watch what happens.
Follow Brendan on Twitter: @bemarsh