Norton: Practice patience to achieve peace of mind (column)
Are you always on the go? Me too. Are you feeling like sometimes you are always in a rush? Me too. Are you feeling like at work and in your home life you are running late more than usual? Me too. Does all of this frustrate you? Me too.
So, the other day as I left my home I came to an intersection where there was a stop sign. The car in front of me was looking to make a left-hand turn onto a somewhat busy main street, and now it was taking a few moments longer than it should have. And at first, I started to get a little frustrated with the car not taking advantage of what appeared to me as plenty of opportunities to make the left turn.
I mean, I was getting tenser by the second; I imagined they were looking at their phone and not paying attention to driving. I came up with a million reasons why they should have made the turn and didn’t. I was literally a nanosecond away from leaning on the horn.
And then I got a little tap on my shoulder and figurative thump to the back of my head as I was reminded where I was going. I was going for a relaxing walk to think and decompress. I had no scheduled appointment, nowhere really to be, I was driving to a spot where I could get out of my car and walk for an hour or so. I went from feeling aggravated and anxious to laughing at myself and at my own self-importance and ridiculousness. I am guessing this is where you may also answer, “Me too.”
As much as we can coach patience, teach patience, pray for patience and try to be a living example of patience, we are all human and the fact is that some of us are better than others at patience. And some of us, myself included, need a reminder to be patient and practice patience. Patience may seem like common sense, but all too often it is not common practice. We have to make a sincere and conscious effort to practice patience if we are to experience patience.
Stay with me now, because here is the best part.
I am not sharing this most basic virtue with you because it is how we should be willing to treat and accept others, and why having patience is so healthy for our personal and professional relationships or with specific events and situations. No, I am hoping that as you read this, you will see or realize just how important having patience is to our own peace of mind.
Stress is a proven killer. Stressful moments, like my own described above, could not only be avoided, but could also be overcome with applied patience. I mean, really, where was I going? Where are you going? Where are we going and what are we doing that is so urgent that we are willing to give up our own health and peace of mind in the effort to manage the rush and crush of life?
The answer in most cases is easy: “Nowhere and nothing.”
So the next time we are in traffic, in a check-out line at the grocery store, reading a post on social media, watching the news, having a discussion, negotiating a deal, responding to an email, waiting for the light to change or anything else that gets your blood boiling, please, take a minute and remember this article, and please practice patience. Not for their sake, but for your own peace of mind.
So how about you? Do you have an example of losing your patience? Do you do a pretty good job of practicing patience now? Either way, I would love to hear all about your stories of patience at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can control our mind with more peace of mind, it really will be a better-than-good week.
Michael Norton is a former resident of Edwards, the past president of the Zig Ziglar Corp., strategic consultant and business and personal coach.