Wednesday, July 29, 2009


"Genius is eternal patience." - Michelangelo

Patience is the ability to slow down and wait. It is the ability to regulate negative emotions (anger and frustration). It is the ability to delay gratification and control impulses (what is said and done hastily). When we see people who are patient, we certainly value this quality and wish we were more skilled at it. We have respect for the individual who can deal with provocative and irritating situations with ease and grace. Patient people show more empathy and compassion towards others, and are more calm and perseverant.

We certainly have the opportunity to practice patience in our daily lives. A few common examples are: trying to find a parking place, waiting in a long postal queue, sitting in the doctors offices for hours, being put on hold via a computer-generated telephone message, getting passed from one person to another only to get cut off and end up having to go through the whole rigmarole again. Children and adolescents can also certainly try our patience beyond reckoning.

Tips for being patient with the world

  • "Answer your emails only twice a day at scheduled times. Firstly, to check for urgent emails, and secondly, at time that you have scheduled after the important tasks have been done (this includes Facebook, Skype, MySpace, etc.). One of the biggest distracters and time wasters is to respond to emails as they come in, so disable the symbol and sound that notifies you when an email hits your inbox and better yet, turn the Internet off completely so you don't end up surfing the web. Make sure you have no distractions. The studies indicate that every email or anything else that interrupts you, takes 12-15 minutes to get back on track. The same goes for your child who is studying for exams and doing homework.

  • Turn off your phone and mobile and put them on voicemail. When it fits into your schedule, respond to the very important ones and leave the rest till later!

  • If you find it intolerable to wait in queues, always carry an inspirational book or something to preoccupy yourself. Maybe it's a good time to sort out what's in your bag or look at your schedule tomorrow and get organized for the next day. Or listen to the audible earworms on your iPod to learn a new language. This is also a good time to say your affirmations.

  • The next time you start to get aggravated at the dawdling bank teller, the intrusive telesales person, or the disappearing waiter/waitress, imagine that there is a CCTV camera that shows the public a large close up of your face so that every muscle of your impatience is visible. If you don't like that image of yourself then how would you like the world to notice you?

Tips for being patient with yourself

  • It's not at all flattering to you when you arrive late to meetings and appointments. Make it a habit to arrive early. This will take a conscious effort on your part to set the alarm clock at an earlier time and make a commitment to get on your journey at least half an hour ahead of time. Visualize yourself being early from now on. If you dread waiting around, think of it as a time to practice patience. You can also pull out that inspirational book, sort out what's in your bag or briefcase, organize your schedule, listen to an audible book on your iPod, say your affirmations or breathe deeply. You will feel more contained, collected, and grounded. This serenity can only boost your self-esteem.

  • Really get skilled at this. Become more consciously aware of your impulsiveness and impatience. Count or record how many times during the day you are impatient. Then try to decrease your score! Take deep breaths as an alternative response. We have read that deep breathing can help you lose weight and keep you healthy, thus, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of losing your cool. Practice, practice, practice. Yes you can change!

  • Don't try to be all things to all people. Give yourself permission to say "No", "I think that will be too much". "I won't really have time to do that". "Sorry, I can't fit that in to my schedule". When you do make plans to meet with someone, make it your goal to really take pleasure in their company. It is easier to enjoy people when you have made the proper time to see them, and you can give them your full attention. It's not enjoyable to others when you are multi-tasking while talking. It doesn't feel good that you can barely fit them into your schedule and you are looking at your watch from the beginning of the encounter. It is better to be fully present and mindful of your friend, child, relative or colleague. It's also the quality of time together that is valuable, not the quantity.