Patience and Celebrating What's Right with the World
We live in a Now world. We want everything as soon as possible. Drive thru's, home delivery of food, next day delivery of products, high speed internet, a thousand TV channels and services all account for the need for instant gratification. It becomes a bit addictive and when something doesn't happen at a speed to our liking, we get irritated. We want service, service, service and if we don't get it, someone will pay for it.
Companies strive to satisfy this need, but over time only tend to create greater demand for faster service. Lately, I hear more people complaining about minor issues as if these insignificant problems were destroying their lives on purpose. I was third in line at a grocery and an elderly lady at the checkout was struggling getting her money out of her wallet. The reaction was palpable by some of the others in line. Eyes rolled, comments under breath were made because an 80 year old lady was slow to pay.
Would we feel the same way if this was our mother? Would we want others to pounce on us if we were having a bad day and somehow delayed the speed of others who needed to be done quickly so they could get back home and watch Netflix all evening. Part of it deals with instant gratification and part of it with the greater impersonal nature of our society.
I see the same thing daily in our weight loss clinic. Patients can become unsettled if they "only" lose 4 pounds instead of 10. They demean themselves for not losing quicker or being at goal already. This is counterproductive. My job is to develop in my patients a feeling of accomplishment and value. They must understand that the journey to thin will take twists and turns and that's OK. I'd love it if we lost weight steadily in a downward linear fashion until we hit the goal.
One of the mental changes that must be made with weight loss and with any big goal is to expect a journey. We overestimate what we can accomplish in a month, but way underestimate what we can accomplish in a year. Persistence over time is what makes goals achievable. Patience with the process is what makes persistence achievable. When we fail to be patient, we become frustrated, and with frustration comes short-cuts, bad decisions, and irritability.
Athletes call merging patience with persistence "getting in the flow". The hard work becomes second nature and the ability to sustain it even when rewards are not happening only creates quiet determination. The flow is that feeling of mental calmness as we work extra hard to achieve an end result. We feel relaxed, we feel committed, and we feel strong. Flow is a mental thing. The mind is the most powerful machine on earth and when we learn to be in control of it, all things are possible.
To achieve a sense of peace and drive out frustration as we attempt to get a thinner, more fit body, requires calming our mind. I find, and many others find, that simple meditation will calm the mind and allow us to get on track and even in the flow. There are meditation techniques and then there is just sitting in a quiet space, closing one's eyes and imagining the day in a calm, productive, and positive way. However you may choose to meditate, it is of great value.
Today as we go about our routine, we should look for opportunities to be more patient. Patience with ourselves, with others, and with events each day can train our minds to become more calm. This is not necessarily slowing down. It's just moving forward calmly. Another way to become more patient is to put ourselves in another person's position. We must seek first to understand and then to be understood. Steven Covey wrote about this in his famous book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People". Understanding what others are going through will change our entire philosophy about the world and about ourselves.
Patience is a skill. Skills can be learned. When we step outside of ourselves and look at situations differently, we begin to become more aware and develop patience with our fellow humans and with situations. Another helpful concept is to change the vocabulary in our mind. Instead of becoming frustrated, we must learn to become fascinated with things that happen. Fascination is a positive mental state and frustration is negative.
The next time traffic comes to a standstill become fascinated at how complex our road system is with thousands of high speed vehicles moving about getting people to where they need to be and how little time it is actually stalled, unless you live in Los Angeles. The next time a flight is delayed, become fascinated with the amazing machines that move us at high speed to destinations all over the world in a mind-boggling safe fashion. The next time you/re stuck in line behind an octogenarian searching for the correct change, become fascinated that we are actually living longer and better than at any time in history.
Dewitt Jones, an unparallelled photographer for National Geographic, taught us to look differently at all situations. In every situation there is something of beauty and amazement. There is something under the surface of what we are seeing at first. There is something right about each and every thing we are encountering. It is our job to adjust our mind and our vision to uncover and to celebrate What's Right with the World. As the photographer must be patient with nature to give her best, we must become patient with ourselves and others to give our best.
What does this have to do with weight loss and health? Everything! The more we can see and think about what's right with the world and our world, the greater value we will begin to see in our efforts and a sense of calm will come over us as we strive to reach our goal weight, our goal in business, our goal in relationships, and our goal in life. Be patient, be calm, move forward and Celebrate What's Right with the World!