I have heard the statement, “Good things come to those who wait,” one too many times in my lifetime thus far. Perhaps I find the statement irritating because I have a major challenge being patient, or perhaps the statement is just a cop out, to encourage persons to passively keep waiting until something happens…I am not sure, but I have come to accept that patience is indeed virtue and it is in the best interest of every person to do what is necessary to cultivate patience in their lives.
We live in a “now” culture. If it takes more than five seconds for a website to load, we won’t view it. We want to call our friends now, even if we’ll see them in 10 minutes. The “now” culture is one of convenience, and let’s face it, convenience can make our lives easier. There are many benefits to be derived from being patient. These include happiness due to better relationships, more success, less conflict, reduced frustration and an overall peace of mind.
Here are a few tips that may assist us in cultivating more patience in life:
1. Ask yourself why you’re in a hurry.
If you feel rushed while going about your normal day, ask yourself why. What do you think will happen if you do not complete a particular thing in a set time? Will the world end if you get home five minutes late? Maybe one day just make an extra effort to slow down your pace, speak to random people, slow down for a pedestrian or be courteous to another driver on the road. Just take the time to slow down and see how you are feeling at the end of your day.
2. Enjoy quiet moments as much as big moments.
It’s easy to celebrate big events like a job promotion. It’s just as important, though, to enjoy the little things in life that comprise the majority of your time. Take a second to appreciate how much faster you can accomplish a task at work than you did a year before. Celebrating the little things are equally, if not more, impressive than the big event.
3. Hang around people who have patience.
Being around a patient person will give you a greater appreciation for the art of waiting. If you don’t know someone who’s patient in your immediate circle of friends or even family, then the next best option will be to take a class like yoga where mindfulness meditation is part of the art; this helps to keep you centered in the present moment and alleviate the anxiety about future events.
4. Focus on short-term goals to reach long-term ones.
Sometimes you can lose sight of long-term goals in the rush towards instant gratification. Most people trying to lose weight have a hard time cutting out sugary or carb-loaded foods completely. It helps to cut these lofty long-term goals into smaller chunks. To encourage weight loss, you can slowly cut back on your calorie intake or increase your exercise regimen each week. Whatever route you take, setting those little goals will help you achieve the big ones faster.
5. Think of the things you’ve gained by being patient.
When all else fails, I think of the good things that have happened in my life because I waited. When you can think of positive outcomes that have come from waiting, it puts into perspective why it’s not always the best strategy to rush into things.
Patience can seem unachievable to those of us who struggle with it. Don’t worry if you slip back into “impatient mode” now and again. Patience is a skill, not an inborn talent, and therefore can be acquired by anyone with the will to learn.
6. Be patient with your patience.
Patience requires a change of attitude. This cannot always happen with the flip of a switch. A great way to create a new attitude is to ask yourself, “What’s the bigger picture here?” This creates a state of productive curiosity that helps you to realize how many good things often happen over time. Don’t get too deep or complex about the big picture; simply know that when you broaden your perspective, you interrupt old patterns of impatience, which immediately opens the door to a fresh, new attitude.