Three ways to developing patience

May 30, 2018

A young Japanese man wanted to learn martial art. He went to the best teacher of the time. Meeting the teacher he asked, “how long must I study in order to become the best in martial arts?” The teacher said a minimum of ten years. The young man thought it was too long. So he asked the teacher, “What if I studied twice as hard as everyone else? How long would it take then?” the teacher said, “twenty years.” Running out of patience, he asked again, “What if I worked day and night with all my effort, how long would it take then?” “Thirty years,” was the teacher’s response.

The young man got confused and asked, “ How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?” the teacher responded, “The answer is simple. With one eye focused on your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the way.”

I shared the above well-known story to expand on the profound response of the teacher that actually tells us why we don’t patiently pursue our dreams. We want to achieve results quickly and that dilutes the focus on efforts.

Patience is the ability to accept delays, obstacles or challenges without getting annoyed or disappointed and persevering with the effort to achieve the goals.

How can we develop patience?

Identify the situations which make you impatient
It could be anything like prayers not being answered, efforts not yielding the desired results, delays in flights, being stuck in a traffic jam, delay in food being served in a restaurant etc. Identify the situations in which you normally lose your patience.

Recall how you behaved in some of these situations
Reflect on your impatient behaviour in different situations. And, then think of the outcome of that behaviour. You might regret your instant reaction out of anger, frustration etc. This realization would prepare you to respond differently next time such a situation arises.

Anticipate delays and challenges
Things don’t always go as planned. There are unforeseen situations or some other facts that can cause delays and irritate you. It will be good to think ahead and plan for at least those factors that you can think of. For example, while learning a new skill, tell yourself repeatedly that everything is difficult before it is easy. For avoiding traffic jams, see if you can factor in some extra time in your schedule.

Patience is key to success. It is an attitude that we all must develop. Problems of life are like the red light on a traffic signal. If we wait, light becomes green. Let’s learn to wait.

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Welcoming the Undercover Agent of Change

January 16, 2010

This is my first post of the New Year. I’d like to start by thanking all those who found time to read my blog in 2009 and all those who wrote insightful comments.

I wish the year 2010 opens the doors of success for all.

In the Opening Doors workshops, I often show participants a picture of a door that is slightly open and ask a question: Why is the door slightly open?

Interesting responses emerge indicating how success is perceived by people. I particularly enjoy interacting with youngsters. Their naïve responses come straight from the heart.

At one such workshop, a young girl replied, “The door to success is not closed on anyone”. At another workshop, a boy said, “We can get in if we try hard.”

That the door to success is not closed on anyone tells us to have faith – the prerequisite for success. We all CAN succeed in life. It’s all a matter of defining our goals. The boy’s response turns the spotlight on the role our efforts play in attaining goals. There is no substitute for hard work. We have to persevere to achieve our goals, overcoming hurdles on the way.

“Opportunities come and go. It is for us to tap them,” is the third recipe for success given by another young friend that I would like to elucidate. Success is all about making use of opportunities that come our way.

But if it is that simple, why do some of us miss that proverbial knock at the door? Well, Its’ because opportunities often come dressed as something else and we fail to see through the disguise. Let me explain: How often have we been asked to volunteer for an assignment beyond the framework of our regular activities – in our school/college days or in our workplaces. It may be a taking part in an extracurricular activity like theatre, sport, organizing an event, delivering a speech, making a presentation or taking on the additional work of an absent colleague or a vacant post? Some would respond to the assignments grudgingly, looking on them as a burden. Others may accept the new roles positively, and end up gaining new knowledge and even tapping their hidden talent. It is such people who have availed of the disguised opportunity (the knock that actually never discriminates between doors) which opened up a new world to them.

let’s conclude that the door to success is neither fully open nor closed. We need to develop the ability to identify the opening, and get in.

Have a great 2010 and pay heed to that knock at the door.