Let not your emotions possess you: Patience - the way to reach your goal | Sunday Observer

Let not your emotions possess you: Patience - the way to reach your goal

I still remember my first job, after graduating in Business Administration. I was given an opportunity by a leading trading company at that time to join them as a junior sales executive.

First, I had to go through a six-month intensive training program after which I was posted to a semi-urban showroom to work under the manager. With much confidence, I looked forward to a challenging career.

Unfortunately, my manager was a cautious traditionalist. He rigidly resisted all change, and disapproved of almost everything I suggested.

One day, after I had presented what I thought was quite a good sales plan for the showroom, my manager confronted me. “In this company,” he said coldly, “presentations are limited to 20 minutes. You ran two minutes over.”

I asked him. “But what should I do now?”

I managed to keep my temper until I got home. Then I blew up, shouting to myself that the company would have to choose between the manager and me.

The next day, accidentally I met my trainer. He listened calmly to my tirade. He smiled and said, “Well, you can have your showdown, but I can promise you, you’ll regret it.”

He paused, searching my face. “Success in life involves a combination of ingredients.

In your present problem, it seems to me you need that tough, challenging ingredient called patience. We were taught at school that patience is a virtue. It’s true and it’s time for you to try it.”

“Well, the first thing is, allow time to work for you, coolly, deliberately, in a dynamic strategy.

Study your manager; figure out why he acts as he does. See things from his viewpoint; perhaps you may gain new experience.

Let him know you appreciate him as an experienced professional. Then, when he has grown to trust you, as he will, begin to sell him your ideas. There’s enormous power in patience.”


I took his advice, and am still following it. My mentor was right. No matter what difficulty you face, the practice of creative patience is a proved road to solutions.

In day-to-day lives, we see sad examples of what happens when people fail to use this power in their lives. A Catholic priest once told me this story. “I remember a young doctor and his wife who once came to me for marital advice.

He was idealistic, deeply interested in laboratory research. She was materialistic, frustrated because her husband would not try harder to turn his talents into money. I tried to persuade them to experiment with patience, because I felt that given time the marriage could succeed.

But, the wife insisted on a divorce. Three years later, the doctor was picked by a USA Agency to direct a vast research program - and all the prestige and affluence that his former wife had wanted came showering down upon him. But, her inability or unwillingness to practice patience had deprived her of it.”

Three enemies

Why can’t people make better use of patience in their lives? Mainly, I think, because it has three great enemies: discouragement, that people give up too easily; frustration, generating anger that clouds your judgment and the tendency to over-react under stress and lose your cool.

I know something about these three hobgoblins because I have seen many people susceptible to all of them. Consequently, I have searched hard for ways to neutralize them.

Here they are:

First, when hoped-for results don’t materialize despite your best efforts, and discouragement begins to creep in, recollect the philosopher who said, genius is nothing but an uncommon aptitude for patience. Remind yourself of Luther Burbank, who once estimated that he pulled a million cactus spines out of his fingers during the 16 years he spent developing an edible cactus for cattle.


Or Thomas Edison, who cheerfully told the sceptic who asked him how he could justify 1,000 unsuccessful experiments in a single project, “Why, now we know 1,000 ways it won’t work!” In short, try to focus not on setbacks but on the ultimate rewards of patient persistence.

Second, when you feel the fires of frustration begin to heat up your mind, think back to something Winston Churchill said during World War Il. “Sir,” growled the Prime Minister to an explosive, impatient general, “you do not possess your emotions. They possess you!”

Next time you’re driving somewhere in a hurry and are caught by a series of red lights, instead of running up your blood pressure, think – “What if someone behind my car is taking his critically sick child to hospital.”

Recently, I learned a valuable a crisis-lesson from a US Naval Magazine. This happened at a Naval Air Station in Florida.

The admiral in charge there, the officers said, was made of steel. Nothing rattled him. He had once been captain of a huge aircraft carrier. One day, as he was bringing his ship into harbour, a tanker had cut across his bow.

A collision seemed imminent. At that crucial moment, a junior officer rushed onto the bridge, crying, ‘Sir, there’s a fire on the hangar deck!”

Now, a fire on a carrier is the worst of all possible hazards. But, the captain, eyes fixed on the tanker, did not reply. “Fire on the hangar deck!” shouted the lieutenant even more wildly. The captain did not even glance at him. “I heard you the first time,” he said patiently, calmly. “Go and put it out!”

Later a reporter asked the admiral himself if the story was true. “Yes,” he said. ‘ ‘It did happen. And, inside I was probably more agitated than that young officer.

But, I forced myself to be patient, to deal with the primary problem avoiding the collision - first. I had learned a long time before, that if you act calm in a crisis, that calmness rubs off on those around you.”

Patience is worth acquiring. It is the key to happy and peaceful living.