Posted on July 24, 2020 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

Patience is a virtue, and there is a reason – it is a tough skill to master.

Imagine, for instance, that you are waiting for someone to finish compiling a report that you need for a meeting. You are already late, you can feel your body getting tense, and you are starting to get angry. Suddenly, you lose your temper and yell at the person for putting you behind schedule. You can tell that they are shocked and upset by your outburst, but you cannot help it.

We are likely to lose our patience occasionally. But doing so frequently or inappropriately can harm your reputation, damage your relationships, increase stress, or escalate a difficult situation.

What Is Patience?

Patience is the ability to stay calm while you are waiting for an outcome that you need or want. Patience comes in three main varieties: interpersonal patience, life hardship patience, and daily hassles patience.

1. Interpersonal Patience

Interpersonal patience is patience with other people, their demands and their failings.

You may consider some people to be slow learners, hard to understand, or even downright unreasonable. Or, they may have bad habits that drive you crazy. But losing your patience with them will be of no benefit, and it may make matters worse.

Patience and understanding toward others are essential when you are coaching a new staff, or when you are delegating tasks. It is also a huge help in dealing with difficult co-workers or managers, and it is central to high-quality customer service.

This type of patience is active. Listening skills and empathy are vital, and, when you are dealing with difficult people, you need the self-awareness and  emotional intelligence to understand how your words and actions affect the situation. You cannot just wait it out and hope for the best.

2. Life Hardship Patience

We could use the term perseverance to sum up life hardship patience. It can mean having the patience to overcome a serious setback in life, like waiting long term for the outcome of a lawsuit, or for medical treatment. But it can also include your ability to work toward a long-term goal – whether it is professional, such as a promotion, or personal, like getting fit or saving for a vacation.

Whatever the obstacle you have to overcome, it will likely require determination and focus to achieve. And you will need to keep your emotions under control throughout the journey. These emotions can range from eagerness to get it done, to anger at the frustrations you encounter along the way – which can cause you to become demotivated.

3. Daily Hassles Patience

Sometimes you need patience to deal with circumstances that are beyond your control. These are your “life hassles.” Something as trivial as getting stuck in a traffic line, for instance, or waiting for a computer program to load.

You also need patience to get through those dull but unavoidable day-to-day tasks that do not necessarily contribute to your personal goals. The ability to maintain self-discipline, and give a job – no matter how mundane – the attention to detail it needs, is a hallmark of patience.

People who can stay calm in the face of these constant, petty frustrations are likely to be more empathic, more equitable, and suffer less from depression.

The Benefits and Risks of Patience

In general, being patient means that you are more likely viewed positively by your co-workers and managers (and your family and friends). You will likely be a better team worker, and be more focused and productive.

If you are often impatient, people may see you as arrogant, insensitive and impulsive. Co-workers may think that you are a poor decision maker, because you make snap judgments or interrupt people. If you get a reputation for having poor people skills and a bad temper, others may even deliberately avoid working with you. As a result, not surprisingly, impatient people will unlikely be top of the list for promotion.

Of course, being patient does not mean you should be a “pushover.” Far from it. Sometimes it is alright to show your displeasure when people keep you waiting unnecessarily. So, ensure that you establish strong boundaries. But, be sure that you are polite and assertive, never angry and aggressive.

Strategies To Improve Your Patience

Pause and Breathe

If you use the time you need to wait to take a few deep breaths, your nervous system will slow down instead of speed up. In some situations, by the time you have taken 10 deep breaths, your wait will be over. In others, these breaths will help to center you and invite a calmer reaction to the wait.

Stop Resisting

Have you ever noticed that when you meet an unplanned inconvenience or challenge with resistance, you are really thrown off – and your mood can turn sour and heavy? Everything becomes about overcoming and removing the challenge when you resist it.

On the other hand, when you meet an unplanned inconvenience or challenge with calmness, your mood remains steady and patient. This is the power in responding, rather than reacting to unwelcome circumstances. Most often, it is not external circumstances that make you upset, it is your reaction to those external circumstances that causes the greater dose of stress in life.

How do you control this when you are at risk for getting impatient? The trick here is to reduce resisting experiences that come your way, where you are unable to affect change. Practicing acceptance does not necessarily mean you like, want, support, or endorse everything you cross paths with. Rather, it means you are choosing to allow it to be there without resistance, when you cannot change it anyway.

In this way, practicing patience is to practice making your default reaction to accept what is with openness, rather than resist it. This does not mean you have to welcome the situation with open arms and enthusiasm – it just means that you avoid resisting it and let it happen within a neutral attitude.

Acknowledge the Effects of Impatience

In the moment, notice what is making you impatient and ask yourself:

  • Do I have control over the situation? If not, what do I have control over in this moment?
  • Is the feeling of impatience helping or exacerbating the impact of the situation?
  • What emotion or mood would be more helpful, instead of the impatience?

Look for the Silver Lining or Lesson

Get curious about the particular moment you are in. Is there anything about the challenging or inconvenient situation that may land a positive impact on your life? Is there anything positive that was not available to you before – and now is – now that this challenge has presented itself?

This may include meeting someone new, discovering a new coffeeshop, or having the opportunity to practice patience and exercise those muscles.

Use the Extra Time Wisely

Now that you have extra time in this moment, what will you do with it? Instead of focusing on the thing that is in your way, or the thing you are after, focus on something else you normally do not have time for.

After all, how often do you find yourself with “extra time?” Probably not very often. Use that time to meditate, read an article, listen to a podcast, text something nice to a loved one, or practice gratitude.

Try a Mini Meditation

Take a time-out and practice a short meditation to help you calm any frustration or anger that may result from the situation you are in.

Befriend the Situation

Assume that the obstacle before you was put in your way because you needed to slow down and take a break.

Watch your impulse to perceive the challenge before you as unfair or as bad timing. Instead, shake off any anger or frustration and take this as a cue that an old friend is reminding you that you need a moment to slow down and reset.

If you shift your thinking about the meaning of the obstacle, you will wind up arriving wherever you are headed with a calmer, clearer mind and attitude.

Getting better at being patient will make your life (and the lives of those around you) easier and ultimately will make you a happier person. After all – adversity would not be going away anytime soon – it is part of the human experience and you cannot escape it. So, you may as well learn to improve your patience and calmly endure the setbacks, difficulties, and the unwelcome roadblocks along the way.

As usual, we remind you to take your Memo Plus Gold daily. It will help to keep you alert and mentally sharp.Natural memory enhancer