Benjamin Franklin said: “He that can have patience, can have what he will.” Everyone understands that patience is important, and that becoming frustrated or stressed out does not solve any problems. The difficulty is actually mastering this all-important virtue. You may dismiss patience as something that is reserved for certain special people but, is not really relevant to you. It’s just another thing that you are not good at. Here’s where I tell you to have patience (really), and at least read on to the end of this post.
Patience starts with yourself. The most important object of your patience must be you. This comes as a surprise to many people. You may think about patience as relating to annoying situations like traffic delays or a long check-out line. Or the mention of patience may conjure up images of an annoying boss or co-worker. These are just secondary uses for patience. The primary use is to be patient with yourself.
There are many goals in your life that you have not achieved. This is true for everyone. Often, you have a goal and do not even do anything to help yourself attain it. When you think about the goal what may pop into your head are a bunch of excuses. You don’t have time, money, or the necessary information to actualize the goal etc. The reality is different. You can make the time, save the money and track down the required information. You are simply not being patient enough with yourself.
You might tell yourself that you have a goal to workout four to five days a week. Then the excuses start. You don’t have four or five times a week to workout. The gym membership is too expensive. You don’t know how to workout properly. If you really think about it, you will see that this is a patience problem. You can’t go from not working out at all to working out four to five days a week in one leap. You need to be a lot more patient with yourself. Do you have time for one workout a week (if you don’t, you should seriously re-examine your life and make some changes)? Start with going for a run for 20 minutes every weekend. No major time commitment, no gym membership, no techniques required.
The same process can be applied to almost every goal that you are not getting around to. You haven’t started saving for retirement. Why not? Well, you don’t have the time to set up an investment account. Besides, you don’t have enough money to put aside for a meaningful retirement plan. And, you don’t know the first thing about investment. Again, be patient with yourself. Start with setting up an online savings account (Ally Bank is a great option). Then set up an auto-transfer from your checking account of just $25 a month. This is an amount most of you won’t even notice. Once you have saved $200 (8 months), log in to the account and get excited about the fact that you have done it. You have saved money towards your retirement. Then buy a book (or borrow one from the library) on investing. The Smartest Investment Book You Will Ever Read is a good first choice (Amazon Link).
Being patient with yourself allows you to break up your larger goals into smaller more doable pieces. This will encourage you to take action and stop disparaging yourself for never accomplishing any of your goals.
Once, you develop a habit of being patient with yourself, patience with other will follow. Thinking about a traffic jam or a lengthy check-out line as simply a series of little steps that will need to be taken one at a time, allows you to apply your patience skills to these situations as well. Developing the patience to deal calmly with your annoying boss or co-worker may be somewhat harder, but it is also a series of small steps. Do not expect to be patient and calm with them immediately. Set a really low bar. Today I will consider being patient when my boss forgets about the report due tomorrow and gives me a different project to work on. You do not actually have to be patient, just consider being patient. Move up from there to remaining calm for 10 seconds. Use the skills of patience that you have established with yourself, and you will find that you can also have patience with others.
Go ahead, try to work on improving your patience with yourself. Tell me how if went. I love to hear from you.