Patience is a Virtue (46/52)
Sometimes I can?t hear myself think. There is too much noise???kids, work to do, house projects, a to do list, organizing, and more.
The days and weeks sometimes fly by in an instant. From one moment to the next.
I don?t want it to be this way. I want to enjoy each moment. To experience each moment with some level of awareness.
On a daily basis we interact with hundreds of people. Interactions with people, whether it?s family, friends, or complete strangers, are the construct that make up our life. And yet, we too often move quickly past one interaction to get to the next.
As you become more successful???grow your family, your relationships, your company, your team???the number of interactions will only increase. It becomes more tempting to treat a new neighbor like any other person you bump into on the street.
Here?s where patience comes in. Take a deep breath. There?s a person on the other end of the conversation. Someone who needs a piece of you. They need the value you bring to this world.
You can make them smile or give them courage.
Whether you?re selling something, or being sold something.
Telling or being told.
Teaching or being taught.
Caring or being cared for.
No matter what you?re doing, you have a gift to offer the person in front of you in that very moment. Here?s an example?
A Story of Patience.
I heard an amazing story of patience the other day. It has stuck with me since, and it?s altered the way I shape my interactions throughout each day.
This is a story about a small, random act of kindness that affected two lives in a big way:
A New York City taxi driver arriveS at the final stop for his shift. He honked. After waiting a few minutes, he honked again. Because it was his last stop, he considered pulling away. Instead, he put the car in park and walked up to the door.
He heard an elderly voice, ?Just a minute.?
He then heard the shuffling of bags moving across the floor. Then the door opened.
It was a small woman in her 90?s with a soft smile wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it. As she answered, the taxi driver caught a glimpse inside the house. It looked as if no one had lived there for years. All the furniture was covered in sheets, no clocks on the wall, and no knickknacks on the counters.
?Could you carry my bag?? the lady asked.
The cab driver walked her slowly down the steps of the front porch to the cab.
Once in the cab, the lady handed the driver an address and asked, ?Could you drive through downtown??
?It?s not the shortest way,? The driver answered.
?I?m in no hurry. I don?t mind,? she said. ?I?m on my way to hospice??
The driver and passenger shared a quick glimpse in the rearview mirror, enough for her to see his concern and continue:
?I don?t have any family left. The doctor says I don?t have very long.?
The driver quietly reached over and shut off the meter then asked, ?What route would you like me to take??
For the next two hours, they drove through the city. She showed the driver where she once worked, the neighborhood where she and her husband first lived, a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom when she was a girl. There were a few parts of town she asked the driver to slow down and she would sit, staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
After a couple hours, she suddenly said, ?I?m tired. Let?s go now.?
They drove in silence to the address she had given him. When they arrived, two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as they pulled up. They must have been expecting her.
The driver opened the trunk to take out the suitcase. As he shut the trunk, she was already in a wheelchair.
?How much do I owe you?? She asked, reaching into her purse.
?Nothing,? said the driver.
?You have to make a living,? she answered.
?There are other passengers,? he responded.
Almost without thinking, the driver bent and gave the lady a hug. She held on tightly.
?You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,? she said. ?Thank you.?
The driver gave a final squeeze of the lady?s hand and the two turned to go their separate ways. As he got in the car and glanced over to her, the door was shut.
He didn?t pick up any more passengers That night. In fact, he could hardly speak.
What if that woman had gotten an angry or impatient driver? What if she got someone who refused to get out and go to her door? Refused to take the time driving around the city?
The taxi driver couldn?t shake the feeling that this single moment may be one of the most important moments of his life.
Be patient in conversation.
We can treat our interactions as just that ? an interaction ? when, in fact, there may be an inportant moment waiting to be discovered.
The woman is not the only one to benefit that day. One could argue that the cab driver got the most from their experience. A life to live with that memory and that feeling of what he did, the significance of the moment, and knowledge of how precious life is. I?m sure all this and more stuck with him every day after.
Not every interaction has this level of potential. But we?ll never know unless we try.
Take a few moments today to find more patience with the people in your life. This might be listening more intently to your spouse, enjoying a conversation with your kids, taking time to check in with a neighbor, or listening to a coworker?s struggle with something outside of work. Whatever it is, give it your attention.
Look for the lesson, the opportunity to give encouragement, or, often the most important, simply be present with that person. It might mean the world to them.
To Your Success,