If You Struggle With Patience
Chances are that you’re simply unpracticed. I often hear patience referred to as a personal trait, something that comes naturally or genetically. But I find it’s more like a muscle that can be developed and strengthened.
The key to building that muscle — and, in turn, muscle memory — is to put yourself in situations that test your patience. Turns out that patience, like immunity, is best gained through exposure.
You’re the expert of what tests your patience. For me, it’s idle time that’s at odds with my schedule. So, I try to find opportunities that add friction to my need to keep moving. I choose the longest line at the grocery store and gas station. I move behind the slowest car on my way into town and make sure I leave plenty of distance between us. I generally avoid shortcuts where the stakes are low. I embrace awkward silence when someone is done talking.
None of these things make me a better person. They also don’t automatically make me a more patient person. But now I know those situations when I see them and have the experience to respond to them better than I would have otherwise.