Graphic created by Evan Brooks using Wix.
This article will be the first in a series of features, where each week I will be highlighting a specific quality that, if practiced, will improve your life. I wanted to start this series to offer what experience I have gained through the years, in various leadership roles, to anyone willing to listen. My most recent leadership role was serving as the President of the Student Government Association at Bucks County Community College, the college I was at before West Chester University.
Each quality I will present has helped me in some way or another while serving in my various roles. In this first edition of the series, I delve into patience. I chose to start with patience because it is a foundational quality when it comes to dealing with others and enjoying life a little bit more.
Patience is an eight-letter word that often goes along with the word tolerance, as in, if you are patient with something or someone, you are engaging in an act of tolerance toward that thing or person. I want to encourage the reader to think of patience in a different light.
I want to encourage the reader to think of patience in a different light.
You can tolerate anything, but it takes a little more to begin to care. Too often when we are being patient — say waiting in a line or waiting for someone to finish their thought — we don’t do much in the way of caring. Sitting in that moment praying for it to end or speed up is usually what occupies the mind.
Time is a limited resource in all our lives, which is why it is important to enjoy the moments that we find boring just as much as we enjoy those moments we can’t get enough of. Seek to be mentally present just as much as you are physically present.
Enjoy every moment possible, even the boring ones: because in every second, meaning can be found. To understand the true meaning of patience, we don’t have to look that far; trees are the embodiment of patience. There are trees that can wait years as seeds, waiting for the right conditions, before they begin to sprout and grow.
So, it is important that we are not only patient but present, there is also knowing when to act and to not wait around. Patience, like anything else, can be harmful if taken to the extreme. Many wait to act, holding off for the right moment to do something, but opportunities fade.
If you need to say something to someone, do it. The perfect moment never arrives. Situations only get marginally better or worse, and before long, they disappear.
In my life, I have had many instances where I have had to display patience, whether it be ensuring my emotions stayed calm or sitting attentively during meetings I would rather be sleeping in. The secret to both is caring about the overall outcome of that experience.
If I were to let my emotions be set off by a short fuse, any remotely disagreeable conversation would turn unproductive. Same for if I lose attention with a rather slow-paced meeting or class on a subject I am not too fond of. Should I be impatient and focus my attention on something or someone else, then I would not understand what had happened when all was said and done.
Being patient requires an understanding that, if I let my mind wander, and my focus sways away from the thing at hand, I will be at a detriment compared to if I had the patience to stick it through with a clear head.
Next week’s “From Me To You” will focus on understanding and how it relates to being an active listener in all aspects.
Evan Brooks is a third-year business management major with minors in economics and civic and professional Leadership. EB0916132@wcupa.edu