I travel. In fact, I travel a lot, some would say I travel far too much (especially my wife). It helps that I really enjoy doing what I do after I have travelled. I meet some incredibly interesting and interested people from a diverse range of backgrounds. I learn from them as much, if not more than they learn from me.
The challenge I face with all this travelling, is the inordinate amount of waiting around. The amount of queuing (lining up for my American colleagues), never seems to lessen. My patience is often stretched to and sadly beyond breaking point.
So, I would like to focus on the virtue that is patience. Patience for some people seems to come naturally, and for others it needs work and focus, and for some it never seems to visit them. For me, patience seems to come naturally only in a few situations. That older person crossing the road, they can have a heap of my patience. That funeral procession holding up all the traffic, I have a lorry load of patience for them. For people learning to do what I spend a lot of my time doing, i.e. presentations, you can have buckets of my patience.
Then there are other areas where I know that I have to work really hard.
Those who just don’t want to even consider my point of view, or won’t acknowledge that it is OK to have a different perspective. I have to tell myself that it doesn’t matter, it’s unlikely to be life threatening, so don’t take it personally and move on.
Then there are those who think that their schedule is much more important than my schedule, and expect me to change everything to accommodate them. I have to remind myself that there’s a good chance that this might be true, so I need to do what I can to understand and respond positively if at all possible.
Then there are those who seem to take ages to respond to any form of communication, or leave it so late that the response is no longer relevant. The same people that ask you for and often expect an immediate response to their requests. I have to stop and acknowledge that people do lead extremely busy lives, and that as far as priorities go, mine might be justifiably too low down the list to matter.
So forgive me if I don’t get it right these areas, but I am trying really hard to improve.
Then there are areas where my patience is found lacking and is unlikely to change anytime soon. Areas like injustice, unfairness, inequality, and persistently poor service. I will never have patience with those who treat our elderly as if they are superfluous to our society. I will never have patience with those people who treat employees, apparently their ‘most valuable asset’ as a disposable commodity. I will never find patience when I pay for a product or service and it is unable to even meet the expectations that have been built up, let alone exceeding expectations.
So there you have some of my thoughts on patience. I have written this whilst on 2 flights to a seminar I am delivering in Belgrade. A journey where Air France seemed to think it was OK for their staff to be late for the flight, making me almost miss my connecting flight. I will leave you to decide what level of patience that has engendered.
PS. My case never made it by the way. However, I have to compliment the Air France Social media team on a great response to resolving the issue promptly.