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Patience and the Big Picture

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

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Quick Communication Tip

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Patience and the Big Picture
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Patience seems to be a pretty normal and accepted aspect of looking at or dealing with details, but when it comes to the Big Picture, we seem to run out, as if patience were a limited resource. People even assert their lack of patience as a function of being Big Picture thinkers, as if there were an unquestionable relationship between the two. In fact the only relationship between being a Big Picture thinker and a lack of patience is the one we create. And as much as this may annoy some people, that says more about a kind of laziness, than a necessary connection.

Patience and Big Picture thinking are not mutually exclusive; in fact they work together to create a superior outcome. We just need to put in the effort to learn patience.

There’s an almost “crazed” and frantic rush in our lives that has little connection to reality. It becomes blatant on the road, but this same impatience shows up subtly in other important parts of our lives. Staying with traffic’s exaggerated view for illustration, in the seconds between waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, and getting a right-of-way green arrow, why would anyone choose to bolt in front of oncoming cars? When the rain makes the freeway itself almost invisible, why would people choose to race each other, as if they’re at the Indy 500? Is it a choice? What are we doing? Where’s the fire? We don’t really have an answer. All we can do is blurt the vague “I have no time!” that’s being fed into our brains from every direction. It just isn’t true.

Choose Thinking
Choice is about thinking, which is different than reacting to a cultural cattle prod. Critical thinking tells you that a few seconds here or there on the road is meaningless, unless you’re an emergency services vehicle saving someone’s life. There are no trophies, no cash prizes, and no reward for beating somebody through a light. There is really no upside, save the absolutely invented illusion that we’re somehow winning something.

The three seconds made racing to the stop sign are ridiculous. There’s no prize money, and you cannot make up the fifteen minutes from leaving the house late (by the way if you do the math, that’s equal to 300 three-second units). The downside is astounding, but time-scarcity shuts off our imagination. It has to be shut off to not think of a puppy or a child potentially running out into the road in front of us.

Yes, impatience in cars makes a dramatic point, yet the downsides of impatience riddle the rest of our lives as well. Impatience does damage to our communication, to our relationships, to the very quality of our lives. It has no upside. Nothing is improved by impatience.

Getting something done quickly, that will create more work to clean up or fix, is not speedy. There are more clichés and proverbs around rushing than just about any other issue we face. “A stitch in time saves nine,” “Penny-wise and pound-foolish,” “measure twice and cut once,” and the list goes on.

The only way we can make rushing (as opposed to moving swiftly) make any sense is to ignore the Big Picture, and focus on a tiny piece right in front of us. We know (when we’re thinking) that trying to “make up” seconds here or there will not improve our lives, our careers, or our relationships. It can easily do harm, and that makes it both unfortunate and worth fixing.

Happy Solutions, Boundless Benefits
Going the other direction; the way of patience, offers us countless positive outcomes. Obviously, safety (physical, emotional, communicative) for all is enhanced on a quantum level. There is also the very real biochemical difference in the way we feel, when we are pleasant, patient, and kind, versus the way we feel when we are brusque, impatient, and surly. One of the chapters in “Kind Ambition” dealing with how we treat one another, has an exercise related back to the road:

"Let someone go first at a four-way stop sign, let them get in or out of a parking spot on a busy street, and give them acknowledgement as well: a smile, a nod, or both. Notice how good you feel at the end of the day. Notice that your productivity did not suffer one iota." I’d bet it actually increased.

When we communicate with each other, we rarely allow the other person to finish their sentences. Our impatience drives us to push the conversation faster, to rush the person speaking, to interrupt, and to assume what they were going to say anyway, so why wait for them to finish? Not only are we most likely missing important details, but we’re doing damage, as we’re running over their feelings. Once again, there is no upside. By being more patient with one another, and being conscious with our communication, we can get more done well in less time, and wasn’t that the point of rushing in the first place?

In the midst of our busy lives, we’re bombarded with messages that often connect success to being mean, rushing, and grabbing for ourselves. You may have noticed it’s not making us feel better or improving the world around us. Being more patient, compassionate, and looking at the Big Picture will absolutely make us feel better, and will improve the world around us. It’s an easy choice, when you think about it.


Quick Communication Tip

Practice Patience

The benefits of patience extend well beyond improved communication, however even staying within this context there are many things we can do to improve.  Make it a goal in and of itself to be more patient.  Yes, the awareness itself will have an impact.  Don't assume you know what the other person is going to say; wait for them to finish.

Slow down just enough to be really conscious of what you're doing and saying in the moment.  As the "stitch in time saves nine" adage illustrates, you'll most likely get more done in less time, because you won't have to go back and fix the inevitable errors that speeding through will cause.  Take that moment to think about what you're about to say before blurting.  When we take the consequences into account, we're more careful with our words.

Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.


Resource Links:

Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)
Communication Excellence (full interview)

Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition -
2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?



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