People tell me I’m patient.
Not always. I’ve had to wait for the meat lovers pizza to come out at Cici’s. All with the pressure of other carnivores waiting in the wings. That’s a double whammy: Needing patience, and a plan to put pepperoni pizza in your pie hole before everyone else.
It began really when I started to coach soccer.
The kids were little. The challenge was big. When you coach 6-year-olds, you’re at a disadvantage. Instinctively, every dog, airplane or finger-picking opportunity threatens to upstage you and steal your players’ attention.
You either grow patience, or you retire to the other sideline.
I was born for this. I came from an era when Amazon was still a forest. If I wanted the limited-edition Boba Fett action figure, I had to save 10 proof-of-purchase seals from other Star Wars figures. Then, I had to wait eight weeks for it to arrive in the mail.
Hell, you can get something from Wish in eight weeks these days.
How to build patience
Here are a few of my tips for building your own pile of patience. (With as many P words as I can produce.)
1. Pause before you speak
My friend Patrick in college taught me this one. (Really, his name was Patrick. I’m not just patronizing you.) He worked with me on the newspaper staff. Patrick practiced the pregnant pause better than perhaps anyone.
That pause produces enough time to bypass your first reaction and think things through. Patrick would audibly breathe in and out before passing on his next best thoughts.
It’s proof that could possibly spare you problems ahead.
2. Put some air in your lungs
To the point: Mindful breathing is paramount when it comes to building patience. Even for the proactive mind, concentrating on breathing in and out places our problems on the backburner. Practice visualization of your problems being pushed out and away.
I use the Simple Habit app for meditation. I also have a recording made from Jacksonville Beach of the waves and seabirds that puts me in a perfect place.
Five minutes of peace a day. Find it! It’ll grow.
3. Plan your approach
You need patience with yourself. Be open. Be fine where you are. It’s that simple, and also that complex. Find what triggers your impatience. For me, it’s when my team doesn’t try hard. Or I’m cooking, but I’m hungry. (It’s best to snack before cooking. And during.)
That’s where you have to be present with it. Aware of who you are and where you are. We get so fixed on a finite goal that nothing before it can be good enough for us.
Plenty of awareness in the present can practically purge impatience.
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