Every month I patiently wait for the reminder from the editor that my column is nearly overdue. I then go into a research frenzy in the attempt to track down a topic on which I can elaborate with great wisdom and wit. I then settle on the over analyzed topics of personal development, communication and leadership. Since few of you actually stop to read my words, I am safe repeating and modifying old stuff. However, today I will expound on the virtue of patience. This is a subject relatively unknown to me so I actually had to conduct some research.
Apparently a long time ago people were much more patient by necessity. Without Internet and today’s fast modes of travel and communication, people had to wait a very long time for the Pony Express and the proverbial slow boat. They also had to wait for the chickens to hatch and grow before making chicken soup.
Today, we have instant gratification. We do hate to wait in line for that special cup of grande espresso cappuccino latte macchiato, however. We have become so impatient that even a small amount of time causes irritation and the attendant higher blood pressure. I myself am considering upgrading my Internet to the mega gigablast option so that I no longer have to wait the tenth of a second to download my electronic copy of TechNation.
So, how can we become more patient and supposedly better adjusted as a result? Through researching my slow Internet, I found that there are tricks that can be implemented to enhance your patience.
Studies published in the Journal of Psychological Science, suggest that the secret to happiness is to wait for it, as long as the wait is for an experience. You see experiences will make you happier than things will. For example, spending money on a vacation makes you happier than buying a bunch of things. And, you will be happier with the expectation while you are waiting to go on that vacation.
So practice waiting since waiting makes you happier than the instant gratification, in the long term. Begin with small items like wait to taste that coffee for a couple of minutes, or don’t go see that movie until tomorrow. The small amount of discomfort will add to the pleasure of the experience as well as train you to be more patient.
Apparently gratitude is also a way to enhance patience, and happiness, because it helps self-control and re-wires the brain to be more optimistic. A gratitude exercise is to write three things you are grateful for in a daily journal.
Another way to enhance your ability to be more patient is to breathe. Deep breathing will help calm the mind and body and soothe the impatience of traffic or that one guy who makes us want to run away.
You can also just embrace the discomfort of impatience. Things will happen to take you outside your comfort zone and realizing that you must accept the discomfort in order to be comfortable with it.
You can stop doing those tasks that are not important. We all have a list of items that we think have to be done. If you look closely, the list will include things that take time and yet are neither urgent nor important. Work on the things that are urgent and important first and ignore those that just waste time.
We all have those special items that push us into impatience. Make a list of these items and resolve to accept, delete or postpone them so you can remain focused. There really is no such thing as multitasking, only switch tasking which is a major cause of the frustration and impatience that things did not get done on time.
In the end, patience is not so much a virtue as a skill. A skill can be learned through diligent work and study. I have perfected patience to the level that my motto is, “Always leave for tomorrow what you don’t want to do today. Tomorrow, today will be yesterday, so why worry about the past.”
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