Counting to Patience

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Take a deep breath and count to ten. We’ve all heard this advice at one time or another. This isn’t a call to test our aptitude for counting small numbers, but rather it’s a call for time—time with which flared emotions can evaporate. To count to ten is to count to patience.

We’ve seen others lose their cool–or we’ve had the misfortune of losing ours–perhaps with a difficult colleague at work or misbehaving children at home. Stepping back and allowing time for palpable tension to dissipate, inviting patience to prevail, is how we maintain composure. It’s how we maintain relationships. Failure to do so can irreversibly harm ourselves and those relationships.

Adding endless fuel to the fire are the stressors of our modern day. We went from the height of a global pandemic to the undulating waves of the Great Resignation/Reshuffle–only to now get dragged by the vicious riptides of rising inflation and costs of living. For many, stress has become an ongoing part of daily life—whether we’re coping with the new world of work or with prices at the grocery store.

Writing for Forbes, business coach Siimon Reynolds advocates for a different path to patience . Reynolds advises that we imagine the kind of person we want to be—the ideal image of ourselves—and emulate that. Be that! By gluing that ideal to the forefront of our minds, we can readily resort to those inspiring values when challenging moments arise—when faced with an abrasive colleague or unpleasant situation.

Management Consultant Gabe de Jong champions the tried-and-true counting for patience tactic in this TED Talk . De Jong warns that impatience can ruin not just our relationships, but perhaps our very lives. Life can swiftly race by without our knowing. Things happen, moments pass, and if we’re busily cruising through life on autopilot, we risk missing it all. We risk not paying attention to our loved ones when they need us. We risk acting on erupting emotions when a moment calls for cool composure.

Today, slow down. Imagine your ideal self. Is this self hurriedly speeding through life, inattentive to those we care about? Or is this a self who’s conscious and caring? Is this a self who’s the calm in the center of the hurricane?

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
– Joyce Meyer

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