Cultivating Patience… Is It Your Priority?

Patience is the inclination to control the racing mind, which wants to jump ahead. We have to win many thrilling races of life but this one, which calls for a brake is no less challenging.

Do you have the quality of bearing provocation, the ability to suppress annoyance, the capacity for calmly enduring pain?

Developing patience is an enormous learning experience, it acquaints us with what is life, how we have to wait at each step, each phase, without getting agitated, disappointed or distressed.

While moving ahead on the path to accomplish our dreams, we have to keep patience and wait for the right opportunities, for the leading benchmarks to reach that horizon we have visualized.

While we try to analyze and understand whether our endeavors conform to our aspirations, we have to keep patience and wait for the results.

“He that can have patience can have what he will.”—Benjamin Franklin.

Patience can be cultivated with practice, with restraint and by balancing our emotions. Despite all the efforts, it is learnt slowly, with time and experience.

Have you noticed how suddenly do we get upset when we encounter some delay in one form or another… whether it is waiting to catch a train or a flight or we get stuck in traffic? Annoyance is a natural emotion at such a time but those are the situations, which apprise us with the value of patience, which train us to think rationally and sensibly.


If you want to learn patience, look at Mother Nature – the slow and steady growth of the fruit tree you plant…the way you have to nurture it, admire it with every passing day and wait for spring…to see it sprout with new shoots, waiting eagerly for the blossoming of flowers, the formation of fruit and wait again for the warmth of sun to fill that fruit with sweetness so that it becomes palatable.


If you want to learn patience, have children around you.They can give you some profound lessons just by running around and refusing to eat what you offer. Ever tried to feed a toddler? You need to wait and wait till they decide to open their mouth to oblige you!…ask a new mother! That is how young women become patient when they have to deal with their loving sons and daughters. When they grow up, the bigger test of your patience starts at that time. While you think about new strategies everyday to deal with them, you too learn. That’s why William Wordsworth must have said… “Child is the father of man.”


I too learnt real patience from my children and MORE of it from my students. Initially I was quite impatient with them but soon I realized that it is just like pulling my own hair, losing my own serenity and concentration. Slowly I started listening to them, getting less angry, learning to control my emotions and becoming patient.

One student who had outgrown all kinds of adjectives from ‘impolite’ to ‘unruly’ [being used by his teachers] was brought into my room for a more effective reprimand. I just gave him enough time to explain himself, spoke politely and respectfully to him and waited. This so called notorious and uncontrollable student had tears in his eyes and apologized but he also emphasized that none of his teachers tried to understand him, not even his parents.

Such is the power of patience! It got ingrained in me through the honest confessions of this boy.

“Have patience with all things but first of all with yourself”– Saint Francis De Sales.


When you have to wait outside the room of your boss, when you have to wait for your colleagues to catch up with your speed of work, when projects get delayed, when you have to wait for your next promotion…there are many such opportunities that instill patience in the most natural manner.

I had to wait everyday outside my classroom…an expected courteous step so that the teacher who had been teaching before me could step out but some of them kept on and on, oblivious of the fact that the bell had rung for the change of class and somebody must be waiting outside, in the sticky July heat or the students need a bit of time to breathe before settling down for the next class.

Some times when the door had been closed by a very conscientious teacher, it was real fun to watch [from that little rectangular hole in the door, made for peeping to keep a check at both the students and the teachers] those students who were apparently distracted or bored due to a long day of packing of all those facts and formulae into their brains and longed for some refreshing change, which English class brought through discussion of real and human issues!

proud-elder-300x279IMBIBE IT FROM THE ELDERLY

Learn patience from the elderly and ailing members of the house, whose insecurities and expectations keep growing. If you love them, their demands can’t irritate you. One of my friends, who was living in a joint family with a mother-in-law and a grandmother-in-law, who had Alzheimer’s had to keep herself calm…her capacity of forbearance was so unprecedented that it amazes me how much she had changed.

“A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else.”—George Savile.

Have you mastered patience? Do you think you need to work on it? I would love to hear your views.

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Balroop Singh.