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Sanity Survival - PATIENCE, NOW!!!!!!
by Eileen McDargh

I admit it: I am a jack rabbit. I like to hop to it and get things done. Give me a project and I'll start immediately just so I can get it off of my to do list. The problem is, sometimes in my haste I make mistakes. I admit that I have no tolerance for voicemail doom loops. I have been known to bang a phone against the desk and scream, "Give me a real person!" (It doesn't work.)

I recently went through some surgery and even though they told me it would be four weeks before I could exercise, that was not good enough for me. I gritted my teeth and impatiently started back before I was supposed to. I found myself gasping for breath and wondering where my muscles went. Too fast, too much, too soon.

Here is a startling discovery: Impatient people are prone to obesity, according to a study at the University of Munich in Germany and the University of Michigan at Dearborn. Impatient types are also shown to have a high risk for hypertension later in life. To add insult to injury psychologists at the University of Bonn in Germany discovered that with a simple test of patience those who put off doing something seemed to have higher IQs than the get-it-done now group. Oh brother, I'm in trouble. In fact experts have described this kind of behavior as time-urgency impatience, or T.U.I.

So is this a behavioral flaw? A personality trait? Answer: it's not a flaw but it is a behavior that has no genetic bearing. It can be altered. The four tips below helped me so I am sharing them in hopes they will help you.

1. Explore why waiting makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes it is our ego that demands everything happen right away. Impatience comes from living in a 24 /7 chaotic world. It is caused by trying to control things over which we have little to no control.

2. Manage expectations. What can you reasonably expect? Remember that my needs are not the most important needs in the universe.

3. Go with the flow. While this sounds like something from the marijuana smoke filled days of the 60s and 70s, it is also quite true. Learning to let go, and to stay in the present moment, can be helped through deep breathing and even reciting a phrase over and over again much like a mantra. (Even though sometimes that phrase is "I'm going to kill that voicemail.")

4. Remember to laugh. It can be actually quite humorous to watch customers compete for the shortest line at the cashier counter.

I actually owe my down time a note of gratitude. Because I couldn't exercise, I rediscovered the wonder of easily walking along the beach. Because I couldn't hop on the computer, I discovered that e-mail still waits and what had seemed so urgent is relegated to the trash.

This experience reminded me that flowers forced to bloom before their time die faster. So I'm working on changing my time-urgency impatience (TUI) into PUI patience ups intelligence.

This takes patience. I've watched an interesting man on many occasions. He spends hours at the beach balancing rocks on top of each other as though he is playing a children's game. The rocks stay in a pile until a high tide knocks them over. He then starts again.

Eileen McDargh may be contacted at

Named by Executive Excellence Magazine as one of the top 100 thought leaders in business, Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE authored one of the first books on work/life balance. Eileen is an award winning professional speaker, consultant and facilitator. Find free articles, surveys, book reviews and more at her professional speaker website.



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