In this age of fast everything, many of us ambitious people are intensely hungry for success, money, growth, love, etc. We see somebody with a shiny toy, say, success in a certain area. And we want it too—now. This sentiment results from the illusion that we are in complete control over our lives. In reality, we are not.
The Illusion of Control
If we operate under the pretense that we are the ones in control, we encounter frustration, self-loathing, and general irritability. If we take 110% responsibility for life events, we see all negative circumstances as entirely our fault. That is a lie. We are in control about 89% of the time. Unexpected events happen. We cannot control the actions of others. This is not to say you should lean back and cede control. No. I believe in having direction, goals, and intentions. However, over-attachment to this mentality is detrimental to your success and your health. Patience is the acceptance of this fact and the willingness to trust outside forces to guide you in the most appropriate way. Patience is the openness to unpredictable events. Patience allows for relaxation and the enjoyment of each moment.
Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life
Impatience is stressful. It ruins relationships. It devalues you as a an individual, and impedes your likelihood of success in any endeavor. Note that patience does not mean laziness. Patience is not the art of watching life go by. Patience is instead than intelligence on when to let go—when to surrender control. You can work as hard as you want, but expecting results yesterday will leave you with low self-esteem and a sour attitude. No one wants to be friends with a sourpuss. Impatience is the result of your inflated ego. Self-righteousness and a sense of entitlement lead to impatience. When you are in this space, you feel as if the world is underserving you by not presenting your desires on a silver platter.
How Do You Cultivate Patience?
You cannot try to be more patient as you cannot try to lose weight. No, readers of Lifehack are smarter than that. We are high-value and high-functioning people. We do not simply “try” to accomplish things in life. We deliberately and systematically come up with a plan and method for execution. Below are concrete ways to cultivate patience:
1. Learn how to breathe
- When we get anxious and overly attached to outcomes, our breath immediately shortens. Oxygen that goes to our brains is reduced. We can’t think clearly.
- When you notice yourself getting anxious and overly attached to end results, take a quick time out. Have the discipline to drop everything, sit still and breathe with ease. A few minutes should be enough.
- Understand that even though you do largely determine your fate with your deliberate actions, goals, and productivity plans, you are not God and you cannot control every single event in life. Let it go. You’ll feel relieved.
2. Love kindly. Give fully.
- Love and impatience do not mix well. They are like water and oil.
- Love is infinite in patience, eternal. There is no “end goal.”
- Love is giving in nature. Impatience in love is selfish and narcissistic. Impatience in love is not actually love. It’s more like a self-serving desire to fulfill basic connection needs.
- Love is understanding, forgiveness, and compassion. Love is a temporary detachment to the self and empathy with another. Impatience cannot exist in this realm.
3. Take notes, analyze, and strategize.
- Like any area you want to improve in your life, you must analyze where you right now. In which areas do you need more patience?
- Write these areas down and star the most important area. If you were more patient in this area, how would that improve you life? Find your motivation.
- Patience for its own sake isn’t very sexy. Find a motivating factor. Your health and emotional well-being might be a wise incentive.
4. Excel at a new hobby.
- Try something you’ve always wanted to try. Really make the effort to be good at it.
- Now observe your learning curve. Do you see that the desire for immediate success is an impossible wish?
- How can you apply these observations to other realms in your life?
5. Get confident in your ability to achieve.
- Impatience results from an uncertainty in your self-efficacy. When you are unsure of your ability to execute, you get impatient for outcomes. You want to prove to yourself that you are capable.
- Convince yourself that the object of your desire is yours. You are completely capable of achieving whatever it is that you want.
- The question is when you will achieve it, not if you will achieve it. And timing, you cannot control.
It’s a basic fact of life that, unless you’re Will Rogers, you can’t get along with everyone: 7 Ways to Deal with Annoying People and Still Get Things DoneFeatured photo credit: janoma.cl via Flickr, runran via Flickr, Jeffrey via Flickr