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October 25, 2019

Patience is a virtue

by Marc Matthews-Indovino

A personal area that a lot of people need to work on is their patience. Patience is a virtue but is not as easy to obtain or control. Think about the times when you may have become impatient. Perhaps while waiting in long queues, or someone cuts you off on the road, your baby is crying uncontrollably, or your child is pulling at you wanting your attention when you are talking to someone or on the phone. Many of these situations could make you think you have no patience at all. A lot of the times, rather than deal calmly with a situation we tend to lose control and lash out due to not having enough patience.

Patience requires a lot of practice and a sense of calm. Every situation that calls for you to be patience is different, so you need to find what triggers your impatience and work to change the situation to your benefit. Part of becoming a better person is learning to have a lot of patience. If you do not practice being patient, it can work against you in many situations at work and in life. Keeping calm is one of the many keys to success, another is keeping a positive mind about the situation that is causing you to become irate.

When we add in factors of stress, anger or tiredness with impatience this can be a recipe for disaster. This could cause a small incident to escalate into something bigger, for example, road rage turning into a violent incident.

So how do you overcome your impatience? The first thing to do is recognise when you get impatient. What situation is causing you the most frustration or anger? I believe that to make a change in any aspect of ourselves, we first must acknowledge that we have a challenge that needs to be addressed. When it comes to impatience, it is better to work on the situations that cause you to become extremely frustrated or angry and work backwards. Working on your most significant challenges first makes it easier to overcome the smaller situations.

Now how do you know what is the worst situation? Think about the things that make you really mad, and you get so angry and frustrated that you yell, scream, swear, or whatever it is you do to release your frustrations. Then think about what triggered that feeling. Sometimes we think that some situations are not critical as they only frustrate you for a brief moment but think about how that brief moment of frustration may be affectting others around you, especially children. Could your brief moment of anger leave lasting impressions or emotional scarring on those around you?

Once you have recognised your triggers, now you need to work on changing the way you react. The first thing to do is try to remain calm. Counting to ten or taking five big deep breaths usually does the trick. Next, think about being in a positive state of mind rather than a negative one. For example when someone cuts me off on the road I think to myself “that’s ok, they are probably in a hurry, no worries”. For me, this empowers me, and I remain centred and patient. It is really can be that simple, staying in a positive frame of mind and being calm allows you to learn patience. After a while it becomes second nature, and you will become a very patient person.

Here are some situations which may cause you to become impatient
and what you could do to change the situation before you get frustrated and lash out.

Stuck in traffic-  Use this time to get your audiobook out or learn a new language. Did you know that trying to get to your destination via back streets actually takes longer than if you just waited it out in traffic? There is an exception to this, and that is when the road had been closed, such as an accident on a  freeway and you are stuck literally.

Crying baby- Babies cry for many reasons. The best thing for you to do is first take a deep breath, second clear your mind and stop doing any other activity, now focus yourself on calming down and then go through the baby crying checklist:

  1. Do they need a nappy change?
  2. Are they hungry?
  3. Do they need a cuddle or your attention?
  4. Are they overtired and need to sleep?
  5. Are they sick and need help?

Try all of these things, and if these do not work let your baby cry for a bit and try to soothe them and repeat the checklist.

Waiting in a queue- The reason we get impatient while waiting in a queue is simply we have to wait. Our time is precious and we are very busy people. Having to stand and wait, causes us to slow down and we can get impatient.

Some tips include:

  • Start a conversation with someone in the line. It is incredible how quickly the line goes when you are talking.
  • Get out your phone and reply to emails, do a quick survey or read an article on
  • If at a supermarket, pick up a magazine and read it. You may just want to buy it
  • Sometimes you can ask the customer service attendant to SMS you when you are about to be served. You can then do some shopping. I know big phone companies do this such as Samsung and Telstra

Standing to wait in line without a distraction will cause you to think about the waiting and the time will seem like forever. There is an old saying which rings true here – “a watched kettle never boils”

Trying to find a car space-  I love this one, and I have the ultimate solution that I have tried and tested a hundred times without fail. However, the technique does require patience, but I guarantee this works every time. When you go into a big shopping centre and try to find a car space do you continuously circle around the car park looking for a car space only to lose a spot as you pass one?

Stop doing that, research says it takes you ten minutes or more to find a car spot this way. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a car space in under six minutes? Of course you would, here is the secret that many people know but do not do it as they do not have patience.

First, you need to find an empty aisle, any aisle will do as long as no one else is waiting in it. Move your car about halfway down and as close to the parked cars as possible. You want any vehicle behind you to be able to go around you. Put on your indicator and wait.

Put on your stopwatch and watch what happens. Usually, within the next 10 seconds to 2 minutes, a shopper will come out of nowhere and get into their car in your aisle, you will need to be vigilant and practice being patient.

I make a game of it, and to my surprise, the longest I have ever waited for a car space was 4 minutes 20 seconds, but that only happened once. On average I wait between 30 seconds and 2 minutes tops, keep in mind though that even 10 seconds can seem like an eternity, so persevere.

There are many more scenarios but ultimately you are trying to improve your patience, you can also try YOGA, meditation, massage or other relaxation techniques as these will assist you to become a calmer person.

Good Luck!

Be your best Mentally

Marc Matthews-Indovino

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