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How to Practice Patience and Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life

How to Practice Patience and Why Impatience is Ruining Your Life

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    How Do You Cultivate Patience?

    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.
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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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