This One Can Be Tough

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open.” ~ Arnold Glasgow

The noun impatience is defined, in part, as: “the state of endurance under difficult circumstances which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance in a negative way.” Its opposite, patience, is something many of us strive to practice; an attribute to be cultivated. And boy can it be challenging.

Most of us (even animals!) are inclined to favor short-term rewards over long-term rewards. This helps to explain the adage,Β patience is a virtue. Over simplified, patience can be illustrated in three simple, progressive steps: Persistence. Acceptance. Serenity or calmness. Yet it is hard to practice.

When we are patient and able to pause and observe without reacting, we begin to see a situation (or the world) more fully and clearly. We become aware of when to move forward and when to be still. Patience allows us to act more mindfully and wisely. And it keeps our anger turned off! Like any skill, it must be practiced and it helps to have simple ways to show us how to improve. For your consideration, here are three:

  1. Take only inspired action. If you find yourself in frustration, desperately trying to force some kind of action to bring about your result, you are pushing too hard. Stop it. Go back to meditation and wait for an insight or a strong desire to do something. Don’t force it. Flow with it. Remember, if it is not fun, you are doing it wrong.
  2. Get a slow pet. You can always get a turtle and watch it every night and admire its patient way of life. Watching a turtle or snail can lull you into a meditative state of mind and you will be able to learn and likely appreciate the power of patience.
  3. Remember what is important. Some times 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. Stop yourself, and try to get things in perspective.

32 thoughts on “This One Can Be Tough

  1. Great post! I’m having to be very patient at the moment – the exchange of contracts on my house is dragging on… and on… and on. I’ve been ready for weeks. I just have to keep thinking “what’s a couple more weeks compared to the decades before me once I have the house?”
    I long time ago I would have been up the walls by now. I guess my patience has improved with age!
    I love the three steps you mentioned. I was persistent in getting to this stage of readiness. I have accepted that the seller is not quite ready. I am (more or less) calm as I wait.

    • Excellent! Thanks for sharing your personal experience as it relates to the three suggestions. It seems matters are unfolding in your desired direction. Testimony to the expression, ‘patience pays.’ πŸ™‚

  2. This post is a nice explanation of Moliere’s thought: β€œTrees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” But in my view, the hardest part with patience is, after waiting for the right moment, to have the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter…
    Great post!

  3. One of the first and most useful terms I learned when I began my martial arts journey was “innae”, we pronounced it “ee-nay”. (But I am American and hopefully did not butcher it.) It means “patience”. And patience is truly needed and benefited from. It was a wonderful lesson I am still trying to learn all of these years later.

  4. “Get a slow pet.”

    I love this!! My dad is the kind of guy who would do exactly as the woman in the picture is doing.

    Thank you for reminding me…:)


  5. I like the three progressive steps of patience…never could interpret patience in such a convincing way as these three words! it is very hard to go into meditation when you are losing patience, it is all the more difficult to brush aside little irksome moments but I agree, they become insignificant after a few days…Trying to digest your words, Eric!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Great post and timing for me Eric. I’m wrestling with many decisions since I left my job and starting losing money in my investments at the same time. I had a great laugh & smile about getting a “slow pet”. And waiting for a clear and inspired choice is so wise and so hard,when ego wants to take action, “fix it” and control things. The longer perspective is a great reminder too. Thanks my friend!

    • If the ego-mind is interfering, Brad, acknowledge it and then politely dismiss it. It won’t like that and it will be persistent in hounding you – but it will be quieted if that is what you will. As shared in another comment reply, patience quite often pays. Glad the post’s messages are sitting with you. And thanks, as always, for creating time to share your honest thoughts!

  7. It’s so ironic that I have ton of patience on certain things but zero tolerance on certain. e.g Flight delays at airport never bothers me, but sitting in a traffic I turn into a different animal.
    No 1 & 2 are not an issue for me when it matters the most, it’s the third one where I education, experience & wisdom collectively fall apart.

    • Yatin, where have you been? πŸ™‚ I believe many of us have turned into “animals” when confronted with traffic so you’re far from alone. The concept of letting things go (as in #3) is challenging for many. Yet if you don’t, the cumulative stress will catch up! Good to hear from you.

  8. Great advice Eric – and I could not agree more about #1. I’m in a place right now that is summed up well by your ‘desperately trying to force some action’ description. You’re spot on in saying it needs to have that flow, to come more naturally, to be the right fit. Forcing things rarely turns out well. I appreciate the reinforcement of needing to just stop and think about things and not act until I’m sure it’s the right path. Have a good night.

    • Be in flow, my friend. Flow. πŸ™‚ Relinquishing control or surrendering is so significant. I sense you know this. If you listen to your heart, it will confirm you are on the right path. Allow yourself some time and energy to ensure your travels are both grounded and aligned with your intentions. And be kind to your self as you await outcomes. A good (next) night returned!

  9. Another excellent scribe, Eric! πŸ™‚

    Patience is a worthy subject. I remember learning kung fu, & my Sifu told me I needed to learn patience. I recall, the first word that came to my head when he said that: WHY?

    Like the quote re the egg – & that bear picture!

  10. Reading Proust is another way to slow yourself down. Proust spends 25 pages in ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ describing a man deciding whether to go to bed or not. I have never managed to finish the 1.5 million word novel but these 25 pages should do the trick.

    • Your comment found me snickering, Malcolm. I (and likely others) had not thought of Proust in the same vein as slowing things down. But you are probably correct. Appreciate your unusual recommendation.

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