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Want Good Things to Happen to You? Try Patience
“Good things do come to those who wait.”
People don’t like being put on hold, waiting in line, or getting stuck in traffic. In the olden days, you had to wait for days for a letter to reach you through the post. Now you can send a text message across the world in a few seconds and expect a response back to you coming from the other side of the globe in no time.
We are living in a world where easy 24/7 access to technology, laptops, smartphones, regulate the speed at which we want things done. The expectation nowadays is for things to happen instantaneously; and when it doesn’t, we get frustrated even angry. According to a 2007 study conducted by Fuller Theological Seminar Profession Sarah A. Schnitker people who exhibit impatience and irritability tend to report more health problems and difficulty sleeping. Being patient is a virtue that has been forgotten. In this article, I would like to help you get re-acquainted with this concept, and to help me do that, I have sought advice from Mother Turtle.
Great Turtle Spirit, I seek your lessons of tremendous patience
Great turtle spirit
I invite you into my life
I seek your lessons of tremendous patience.
I seek your lessons of the shore
Lead me along that place
Where water touches earth,
The space between movement and stillness.
Remind me that I carry all
I need with me at all times.
Awaken my senses
So that I am prepared for
Opportunities as they arise.
Help me trust that all happens
When and how it should.
Shield me from harm and share
Your primal wisdom.
Please, help me remember that
My home is with me wherever I go.
I call to you.
The Turtle Prayer was written by Travis Bowman and published in Native History Magazine in 2013. The turtle is a sacred creature among Native American tribes. The Turtle represents longevity and teaches us the meaning of time, it encourages us to slow down the pace of our life, to be mindful, and present and to think carefully before we offer our thoughts or opinion on a particular subject. It is all about the power of divine timing and the ability to wait in a constructive manner and not to rush the results. The magic is found along in the journey as well as at the destination.
The Turtle represents creativity and abundance. Her motto is, use what you have and start where you are. Turtles are omnivorous, they eat almost anything that comes along their path, whether it be ants or a wide variety of plants or fish, and even occasional small mammals. They remind us that we are surrounded by opportunities that feed us along our path, but most people are too busy rushing around from one thing to the next to pay sufficient attention to what is right in front of their eyes. Be adaptable, awake your senses.
A turtle shell is its home and protection. The turtle reminds us to withdraw into ourselves and examine our feelings when we are bothered by the actions, inactions or words of others, and when we are getting impatient in a fast-moving world.
Patience is a gift when given or received
What is waiting? It is essentially experiencing a certain period of time without any rewards. We have all heard of the famous marshmallow study conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel at Standford University in the early 1970s, where researchers offered four-year-olds a marshmallow now or two marshmallows if they waited for 15 minutes. In that study, most children tried but failed to wait the necessary 15 minutes in order to have two treats; but for the small group of children who had enough will power to wait, the study demonstrated that those children had higher test scores and a healthier body mass years later. This study demonstrates the benefits and power that delayed gratification can have on our lives.
Waiting can drive you crazy, make you irritable, angry, frustrated, unhinged, but at the end of the day, those roller coasters of emotions will not affect the outcome one inch. If things are not happening as fast as you expected it, the best thing to do is to go with the flow and make the extra time count for something. Patience doesn’t mean passivity or resignation; it doesn’t make you a doormat or unable to set boundaries with people.
Patience is power. It is a way for you to practice emotional freedom. You can choose to be annoyed and frustrated by the delay or you can choose to use the time and turn it into something productive. It is your choice. It doesn’t come naturally but you can learn to transform frustration and adversity into patience.
“Patience is essential to daily life and might be the key to a happy one. Having patience means being able to wait calmy in the face of frustration or adversity. So anywhere there is frustration or adversity, we have the opportunity to practice it.”
Dr Judith Orloff
For people who have little patience, all is not lost, patience is a skill that can be improved with a little bit of practice. Recent studies have been conducted in order to find out what can be done in order to increase patience; and as it happens, it all depends on the value of the reward, a person willingness to wait patiently for a reward will increase if the reward is large enough. Most people will wait for the newest-soon-to-be-released iPhone because it makes total sense to wait a little to get the latest version instead of rushing to buy an old model now.
In public it is the impatient one that grabs all the attention, but patience is a skill that you practice quietly, behind closed door, just like professional athletes who step away from the limelight taking some time off to heal their injury so that they can come back stronger, step back into the arena and compete another day.
To reach mastery you need patience
In the olden days, if you wanted to enter a profession you will have to find a master who will be willing to take you under his wings and enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft. The normal length of an apprenticeship was 10 years; learning the craft required patience, discipline, and dedication. The modern concept of this is the 10, 000 hours required to master a skill as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.
Robert Greene calls this Mastery. He wrote a whole book about it.
“Anyone who would spend ten years absorbing the techniques and conventions of their field, trying them out, mastering them, exploring and personalizing them, would inevitably find their authentic voice and give birth to something unique and expressive. Embrace slowness as a virtue in itself”.
We have a tendency to want to take the quickest, easiest path to our goals, we are impatient and want to see results quickly, but remember “there is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” The best way to cultivate our natural impatience is to cultivate a kind of pleasure in pain – like an athlete, you come to enjoy rigorous practice, pushing past your limits, and resisting the easy way out.
And this, my dear friend, is your Quest