Someone said, “Patience is a virtue.” Maybe, but it’s one that I usually don’t have. I like for things to be done – fast! If I have a goal, I want to reach that goal in a nanosecond. I don’t like to wait. I don’t like for projects to take time to get done. I don’t like long drives. Historically, I don’t have a lot, but I am developing patience.
Some recent events in life and business have got me thinking about patience and the value of it. I had to first decide what it actually is. The dictionary definition of patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Okay. I get it. But how does that translate to real life and how do I develop more? Here are my steps for developing patience and they usually work for me.
Determine the Right Goal
This doesn’t have to be some kind of grandiose dream. The goal may be to get a cup of coffee at Starbucks. However, those kinds of goals don’t really reach touch the impatience pain point for me. For me, it usually has something to do with business. When I say the “right goal,” I mean one worth pursuing.
The truth is, if the line at Starbucks is too long, I’m bailing out. It’s simply not important enough for me to wait 30 minutes on a cup of coffee. However, growing business by 10% next month is worth it. Helping my son with his math homework until he gets it is worth it. Waiting for my 3 year-old daughter to pick her toys up is worth it even though I could do it much faster myself. Getting out of debt is worth it. Waiting to find the right house, waiting for a drug addicted family member to decide to change, waiting for the right job. All of these, and a host of others, is worth it.
Whatever has our focus also gets our effort.
Identify the Steps Involved
What is it you actually need to do? Developing patience requires that I understand processes. There are steps to reaching any goal. Most of the ones mentioned above and others that are actually important enough to pursue require several things to happen. Determine what the steps are and make each step a small goal. Progress helps the waiting process.
Have Some Meantime Activities
There’s usually no need to stand still and wait. What else can you do in the meantime? This doesn’t apply to every goal. However, we really don’t have to get so preoccupied with that one thing that we forget everything else. What other things, perhaps less significant, can you do to build progress in some other area?
Know that Obstacles will Come
Anything of significance is bound to be met with some obstacles. For me, this is the area where I need to develop more patience. I don’t like obstacles. I don’t like when progress gets impeded. This is why the first step is so important. If we don’t have the right goal – one that is important enough – obstacles will cause us to bail out. When setting the goal, try to determine what obstacles might crop up. You probably can’t see them all, but plan for those you can see.
Reminding myself that obstacles will definitely show up gets me mentally prepared for it. It helps me avoid being surprised. Instead, I can just deal with it and move on.
Developing patience is not an easy process but it is worth it. It will reduce stress in your life and keep you focused on whatever goal you have set. Whatever has our focus also gets our effort. Developing patience will help you focus on the right things.
What are some things that help you wait when things take longer than you expected? Feel free to comment. We would love to hear from you!