Patience, a Virtue In Progress?
M.D. Personal Journal:
In today’s fast-paced, on-demand world, patience is an attribute that is fading. We don’t want to wait in line, we want our desires satiated fast, fresh, and now. Knowledge is at our fingertips with a quick Google search. Food can be ordered and at our front door in less than an hour. Movies and TV shows are streamed instantly. And when things don’t happen when we want it? We get angry and post nasty Yelp reviews.
Merriam-Webster defines patience as The ability to remain calm when dealing with a difficult or annoying situation, task, or person. Does this sound familiar? I’m sure all of us are subject to tests of patience every single day, most of which is out of our control. What we can control is how we practice patience.
Case in point. Last Sunday we were running late for church, just like every other Sunday. I was trying to hustle the kids into changing their clothes and brushing their teeth. On Sundays, the church morning service gets crowded and if you don’t get there on time, the parking lot fills up and you have to park much further away in the overflow lot. The younger kid was bouncing a ball in the family room and I warned him to stop. As I was finishing up the dishes, I heard a CRASH and a SPLASH. I spun around and saw that the goldfish tank was on the floor. My son had knocked it over while playing ball. My first thought was #@*#$!!!!
I had to pull myself back from yelling at him. I told myself, “Ok, what’s done is done. He already feels bad… don’t …yell.” All we could do was clean up the mess together.
As expected we were late to church and I was annoyed. I dropped off the family at the entrance, went to find a spot at the far lot and hiked back in. As I entered the auditorium, I expected to find my family sitting in our usual area; right side, mid to back of the room. They were not there. I scanned the room but failed to spot them in a room with over a thousand people. I texted my wife to find out where they were seated. Annoyance grew to irritation. Ten minutes later, she texted back – ‘front row left side’. How was I expected to know this? Once again, my wife assumed I could read her mind.
By the end of the service my general bad mood had evaporated. I wasn’t going to let a difficult morning ruin an otherwise beautiful day.
At work I demand excellence and consistency from my techs. Any service oriented business person will know that both excellence and consistency are very hard to achieve together. It drives me nuts when a tech puts out sloppy work. The other day, we were performing a CT of the liver looking for liver cancer. The CT tech cut off the top of the liver so it was not included on the field of view. I bit my tongue but had a serious conversation with the tech explaining that this was not good practice and could not happen again. I could have thrown a fit and berated the tech, but that would have served no purpose.
Benefits of Patience:
Patient people: Patient people don’t act impulsively. They wait for all the information to come in before making a rational, sound decision. They don’t make snap judgements or put down other people. Impatient people are more prone to make impulsive and irrational decisions. They blame and belittle those around them. No one likes to be around an impatient person.
Patient money: Patient money is money that is invested for the long term. It grows slowly and steadily, compounding over many years. This is how wealth is built. Get rich quick schemes rarely work. Any new business venture requires time to grow. A new medical practice is not overflowing with patients overnight. Success requires years of dedication and hard work.
Patient parenting: Parenting is hard, no question. If there was ever a test for patience, being a parent would be it. A child will trust and relate better to a patient parent. An impatient parent pushes their kids away and creates mistrust. Kids will test your patience everyday in ways that child-free people will never understand. But the reward of having a great relationship with your kids is immeasurable.
So I encourage you to think about how you can be more patient in your life. Take the time to pause, wait, and think. It not only helps you, but it helps all those around you. For me, it is a continuing work in progress.
Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. -Saadi
He that can have patience can have what he will. – Benjamin Franklin
Patience and fortitude conquer all things. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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