“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, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.