Vail Daily column: A little patience, please
Last Sunday, as I reached the first intersection in my neighborhood, I stopped at the corner and waited as the crossing traffic had the right of way. As I made a left turn, I realized that the car that had been at least 200 yards away was now immediately upon me. This is a 30 mph zone, but I would bet he had to be doing at least 60 mph.
My first reaction was not one of patience. However, I quickly grasped control of the situation and came to one of two conclusions. After all, it was Sunday, so he was probably just really late for church and didn’t want to miss any more of the service. Or, he had a pregnant wife in the back seat and was rushing to the hospital for the birth of their new baby. Hey, so that’s what I told myself anyway.
Either way, I was convinced that the guy was just in a rush to get somewhere and since it was such a beautiful Sunday morning, I would just move on patiently with my own day, not allowing the driver, who I may never see again anyway, to control my emotions or create stress in my life that day.
The frenzy of the holidays are already upon us. People are camping out to hold a place in line for Black Friday. There will be images in the newspapers and on television of people with their flesh pressed up against a glass door in anticipation of the opening of that store. Check-out lines will be long, cashiers and customer service personnel will have their patience and stress levels tested, and of course we will also push the limits of our own tolerance when it comes to jockeying for parking spaces and dealing with other shoppers.
Urgency and last-minute shopping are as much a part of the holiday tradition as turkey, toys and pumpkin pie. This season, we can reduce our own stress by practicing patience. Setting our expectations prior to entering the field of battle so when we do get into the trenches with our fellow shoppers we will be ready mentally, physically and emotionally to deal with those folks who aren’t capable of practicing patience and will try as hard as possible to test ours.
We will also be tested and tried while in traffic and in lift lines, we will be cut off on the highway and on the mountain. And, of course, the perpetrators must be from out of state because here in Colorado, we know better. We know the rules and by nature we are just more laid back and calm anyway, right?
We are better than that, we are a pyramid of patience, a tower of tolerance, and as calm as a soft snow falling gently in an aspen glade. We will not let outside circumstances or other people control our emotions or outcomes as we maintain our composure and character regardless of what is happening around us. We also understand that it’s not what happens to us in life that defines us, it is how we respond to what happens to us that truly defines who we are.
I would love to hear how you plan on dealing with the rush and crush of the holiday season at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s make it a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of http://www.candogo.com. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.