“One must never be content with, or impatient with, oneself.” – Samuel Johnson, English author, poet, lexicologist, essayist, editor and biographer, one of the most quoted English writers (1709-1784)
Most of us could use a little practice being patient. If we’re being truthful with ourselves, aren’t we often anxious to be done with whatever we’re doing, eager to get on to the next thing on our to-do list? Even more likely is the fact that we try too often to multitask – although science proves that it’s impossible for the human brain to do two things at once. At least, you can’t do two things that require the same portion of the brain to be engaged. Mechanically, you can hit a ball, but you can’t study for an exam and text at the same time – not successfully, anyway. And at the root of all this trying to do more than one thing at once is a distinct lack of patience.
Granted, we want to make things better. That’s understandable. We see something lacking in ourselves and want to change it – or not, because we’re in denial or are trying to rationalize what we’re doing or not doing. It’s normal to aspire, to be motivated to undertake a task or project or get going on a pursuit or endeavor we deem desirable. But beating ourselves up with where we are at present or being too complacent with our current status? Neither of these are the way to go.
Instead, try something novel: Exercise patience. Take a breath. Clear your mind. Focus on just one thing, one action, one thought at a time. Be in the present – really be here. It will feel foreign at first, as anything new does. But you’ll get used to it soon enough. Before long, practicing patience will seem as normal as breathing. Best of all, your appreciation of life will begin to flourish. Instead of finding fault with this or that aspect of your life, you’ll instead see where you’ve made strides and feel increased self-esteem, renewed motivation and greater self-confidence.
The secret to achieving any worthwhile goal, along with crafting a plan and working it diligently, is to have a little patience. It is also true that patience is its own reward. When you are patient, you realize that all good things will come in time. How life affirming is that?