What do long lines, weight loss, and babysitting all have in common?
Okay, yeah maybe they cause stress, or they're situations we don't really like to be in-- but the real answer is, they're all situations where we could use a little extra patience.
By now culturally, we are all very used to getting what we want immediately. Everything is at our fingertips; information, people's attention, music, you name it- we can have it and we can have it now.
Not only does this cause distraction, it lowers our ability and our willingness to wait dramatically. Without ever realizing it, we busy ourselves with downloads, text messages, and memes. We stream live video so we don't have to drive all the way to the theatre, we online shop so that things are shipped directly to our door, and we can even have the airline call us back if the wait time is too long.
The most successful people in the world will tell you that if we all paid more attention to practicing not only the virtue, but the art of patience- we'd be a lot better off.
Lucky for you, I'm not going to make you wait any longer for this, here are 5 ways to cultivate patience daily;
1.) Practice gratitude
Research shows that being consciously grateful makes us happier, less stressed, and even more optimistic. It can also slow us down long enough to smell the roses.
"To be content doesn't mean that you desire more, it means you're grateful for what you have and patient for what's to come." -Tony Gaskins
2.) Be mindful
Mental "to-do lists" are like traffic jams in our brains. When we are so occupied with "what we have to do" we become extremely intolerant of anything that gets in the way of that. We are constantly being interrupted by kids, emails, texts, phone calls, tweets, Facebook lives, Instagram DM's, and Tinder date requests that we rarely slow down enough to identify what is making us feel so rushed. Multi tasking has become the norm- but it is also what creates the state of "hurry" we seem to live in day- to- day. Being mindful and aware of your thoughts and feelings can help you identify what is really important, and which of those notifications are really worth checking.
"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgement." -John Kabat Zin
3.) Delay gratification
Not having to wait feels good. Really good. However, recent studies show that waiting longer for things actually make us happier in the long run. It makes sense if you think about it in terms of your favorite holiday, your birthday, or any other special occasion that is only celebrated at a certain time. The waiting for it, and the rarity of it, is what makes it so enjoyable. I bet that if we experimented with this, and made ourselves wait an extra 30 minutes after dinner before eating a brownie, or saved our favorite TV shows for the weekend to watch with our families- we would increase our ability to apply it in more irritating situations.
"The obsession with instant gratification blinds us from our long term potential." -Michale Dooley
4.) Lean into discomfort
Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. Think about it. We are never more alive than when we are striving for change, pushing our own limits. I think we all naturally side- step discomfort. What if choosing it is actually the way to overcome the feeling?
Here's another way to think about it. I bet you have a really comfortable bed. I bet you love your bed. There are probably days where you don't leave your bed unless you have to pee. But I'll also bet that if you do this for too many days in a row, or too often at all, it's not actually enjoyable. Great things happen when we leave the comfort of our beds, so let's slip into something a little more uncomfortable.
"Nobody has ever died from discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!" -T. Harv Eker
I mean this one quite literally. Stop and actually breath. Pay attention to your body as you breath and you'll probably learn how often you ignore your body's ability to slow you down. Interestingly enough, your breath sets the pace for your mind and when done consciously, it keeps you in the present moment better than almost anything else. Breath consciously as you work, as you speak, and as you think. It will set a pace that allows you to have clearer thoughts and make better choices.
"When you own your breath, no one can steal your peace."
Patience is not only the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting. To expand more in this area of your life, check out Your First 5; a 3-5 minute video to help set the pace of your day. You can have a good day, every day, no matter what and it all starts here.