He that can have patience can have what he will. – Benjamin Franklin
We’ve all heard it before – Patience is a Virtue. But how important is it really?
Patience is generally studied as a decision-making problem, it’s similar to hyperbolic discounting (a big word, but I just learnt it this morning so I had to mention it!), which is when we discount the value of a later reward because of the time period it takes to receive that reward compared to a more instant reward.
We’re inclined to favor short term rewards over greater long term rewards, can you see how this would be a problem for someone wanting to achieve success?
How Do We Become More Patient?
It’s all well and good to discuss the benefits of having patience, but I’m assuming you opened this link because you wanted to learn how to become more patient.
Increase our tolerance
Tolerance (noun) 2: The capacity to endure continued subjection to something…
We need to teach ourselves how to endure irritation, whether it’s bad weather, traffic jams, or just annoyances in general. I know I write about how it’s good to take responsibility for everything in your life, but let’s be real for a sec – there is times where we can’t change things. I mean, you could do a rain dance or something, but it probably won’t work.
- Embrace our situation – Accept that sometimes you can’t change things. If you’re in a traffic jam, you can’t successfully drive off (and please don’t try). If it’s raining on your family picnic day, you can’t change that. Embrace, and…
- Seek the good in it – Sorry for dropping clichés, but this is important. The only way you’re going to benefit from a crap situation is by having a positive attitude. Bad weather? Well at least the plants are getting some water. Traffic Jam? Why not listen to some fulfilling audio.
- View it as a lesson – Just like we should call failures lessons, we should also acknowledge the fact that situations and experiences are just as educational, even if they aren’t under our control. Reflect on how you handle a situation; learn from it for next time.
To increase our tolerance further, we need to become more open-minded – especially when becoming more tolerant of people and their opinions/views. Being open-minded doesn’t mean you have to agree with anything, it just means you should acknowledge things.
Take Things One Step at a Time
It’s an instant world, we want it all now. Unfortunately a lot of us don’t realize that there’s a long process to getting where we wanna be in life. This process can be broken down.
Breaking tasks up makes things much more manageable and will ultimately cause us to be more patient as we won’t be overwhelmed with what we have to do. Understand that each big goal takes a number of steps; once we complete each step we’re closer to our goal.
Learn to Relax
Relaxation is essential to living a healthy and abundant life. In terms of patience, it’s important when you’re in a high stress situation, or under a lot of pressure.
A great exercise to do is deep breathing, it sounds simple, but it works. Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Stop and think for a minute or two.
“Patience requires a slowing down, a spaciousness, a sense of ease.” – Allan Lokos (from the book Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living)
To Sum it All Up
I’ve covered three main points that will help you become more patient (and probably productive as well), increasing tolerance, taking things step-by-step, and relaxation.
There is one thing I’ve missed out though – practice. “Ohhh not practice! I always have to practice!”
Yes, yes you do. Don’t expect to become a Zen master in patience overnight, this takes time!
If you’ve got the patience, would you mind sharing your thoughts on this post? Leave a comment below.