Patience has not always been my strongest point.
For me, the flipside of enthusiasm is invariably impatience. Quite often I find that when I’m feeling most motivated and energised, my patience levels evaporate.You’d think energy and motivation would be good things. But the impacts of reacting instinctively, without pause, can range from simply missing opportunities to a blazing row.
The other form of impatience that I’d like to address is the one born of being self absorbed or introverted. The sort of impatience that says we don’t have time to talk to the person in the street carrying out a survey or raising money for charity. Or the impatience that turns down the offer of a cup of tea or something similar at work, for fear of getting drawn into a long conversation or the expectation of having to reciprocate (heaven forbid!). I’ve found myself being guilty of all of the above but the strange thing is that almost every time, I regret it when it’s too late and the moment has gone.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Blink’, he talks about “taking charge of the first two seconds”.
“Every moment… is composed of a series of discrete moving parts, and every one of those parts offers an opportunity for intervention, for reform, and for correction”
Opening the fridge the other day, this carton design (by Innocent) reminded me of the idea.
In an attempt to do something about it, I’ve been trying meditation. It’s not hard to find suggestions about how to meditate on the Net. For a superb, comprehensive and simple guide, the best I’ve found so far is contained in HHDL’s “How To See Yourself As You Really Are”
Peter Bregman’s excellent HBR blog talks about another benefit of meditation that is increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.
“Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance.”
After attempting and giving up in the past I’ve been making a more concerted effort over the past few days to set aside time. This means an hour or so before the rest of the family wakes up in the morning and ten minutes or so before a planned meeting, especially one-to-one sessions. So far so good. I’ve not missed a morning session yet and I have noticed myself being more positive, calm and focused. But above all, I do feel more patient and in control of those first 2-3 seconds. Just got to keep it up now!