Monday, October 17, 2005


As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm trying to work on some things for personal improvement. One of them is "patience". An online dictionary site defines patience as "good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence". I find that is something I really need to work on. It's easy to be good-natured when things are going well, but it's another story when one is under stress.

So, I've been trying to be aware of when I might lose my patience and get frustrated with delays or with things I might perceive as "incompetence". Surprising, I found that just being aware of when I started reacting that way actually helped me reduce having such a negative reaction. Rather than having the impulse to get frustrated, I found trying to keep a positive attitude about the situation actually improved my mood. After a while, it starts to become a habit to keep a positive outlook in a situation. If you are the type of person who gets easily frustrated or aggravated when things go wrong, I'd highly recommend trying to be aware of when you find yourself reacting that way. Try to think of something positive about the situation. For example, if you are stuck in traffic, don't think of it as a loss of time or worry about all the cars in front of you. You can't make them go away. Maybe instead you can use the extra time to plan your day, or admire the scenery, or listen to the news on the radio. I know it sounds simple, but it really does help. It might be easier than you think to keep those negative feelings from happening. I think in the past I just got in the habit of having a negative reaction and accepted that that was how I am. Instead, I found it is possible to change. It takes some effort, but it is doable.

Earlier last week I realized I was making progress when I was trying to reassemble a desk that I had moved up a flight of stairs. I was a bit tired and was lying on the floor on my back trying to put in a screw and it kept falling out and I'd have to search around for it and try again. Normally after 3 or 4 times of this happening I'd be very aggravated with my own incompetence and would have let out a loud "GRRRRRRRR" or "ARGGGGG" and maybe I would have given the desk a wack for good measure. But instead, I just found myself laughing at the situation. Instead of thinking it was a frustrating situation, I was thinking how silly I must have looked if someone had seen me trying in vain to put that screw in place. So I remained good natured. And isn't that what patience is all about? (At least that's what that dictionary web site said.) Another option is I could just be insane now. :-) But at least I'm in a good mood.