In situations that are difficult and challenging, patience helps maintain your will power and can sustain you. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
Life is difficult and challenging. But sometimes things are more difficult and challenging than others. In this quote, he urges us to use patience in these trying times. The use of patience will, hopefully, allow you to retain your will power and help sustain you through the tough times.
The act of patience will allow you to remain calm, and help you keep your wits about you amid the difficulties and challenges in life. If you can remain calm and patient while things are difficult, you stand a much better chance of noticing that one little clue that will allow you to successfully face the difficulty and not just survive, but thrive.
Why is patience important?
The trick to patience is to allow things to settle down, to give yourself time to examine what is happening and come up with a plan. The opposite of patience is to do some knee-jerk reactionary actions, without thought, without plan, without preparation. That’s not going to end well, is it?
Patience can also help sustain us by allowing us to be calm and collected, not running around like the proverbial decapitated chicken. By taking some time, we can pick our own time to act, and to respond in a measured and practical manner.
Where can I apply this in my life?
In football, a running back wants to run the ball as fast and as far as possible. However, a fast running back will quickly outrun his blockers and face the opponent’s defense alone. That’s not good.
The running back needs to learn patience. He needs to allow the play to develop, to wait for the blockers to get into position. He needs the blockers to make a hole for the him. Then and only then is it time to turn the speed on. Does that make sense?
While the chaos on the grid-iron doesn’t compare to difficult and challenging times in life, I hope it is something that at least some of you might be familiar with. In real life, things seem to come at you fast and from odd angles, but the principal is the same. If you just start running, things aren’t going to go well. You need a plan, a direction, a destination, or it will only get worse.
Grab some paper and write down a few of your recent difficulties or challenges. For each, write down what you did in response to the troubles you encountered. Then write down what part you think patience played in the outcome.
Once you’ve written all that down, select one event and give it more consideration. What do you think would have happened if you had used more patience? If you were able to use your will power and not immediately react? If you were able to keep a level head and think it through, come up with a plan?
How much of a difference do you think it would have made? Take the time to repeat the exercise for each of the other events. Are you detecting a pattern? How often do you reach for the tool labeled ‘Patience’ or do you usually reach for the tool labeled ‘Reaction’ or perhaps some other favorite tool?
Now that you have an idea as to how you normally react to difficulties and challenges, can you come up with something to help you take a pause and try a little more patience? A clever saying might help (sorry, I don’t have one – I’ve always been a slow, deliberate thinker).
Even something as simple as a mental image of a snake or spider sitting on your preferred (and perhaps a bit less-than-skillful) choice of tool might help you slow down a bit. As always, a deep breath and a quick count to ten can do wonders to help calm the mind and clear your head.
Like the commercial says, life comes at you fast. You can’t be prepared for everything, but if you can be patient with yourself, you can keep you head and get a plan together. It might not be the best possible solution, but it will likely be significantly better than just running with the first idea that pops into your head.