Dear friend,

I want to write you a letter on how to be patient.

First of all, I am actually a quite patient person. I’m not sure where I learned it from, maybe my mom. But regardless, I still fall into fits of rage, fury, and anger.

1. Be like Muhammad Ali

One of the biggest inspirations on patience is Muhammad Ali. In his famous fight against George Foreman, he adopted the ‘rope a dope’ strategy.

The concept: Muhammad Ali would tire out George Foreman, and when George Foreman was tired at the end, Ali came out, guns blazing, and beat him.

Imagine yourself on the ropes. You’re being beaten up, but you patiently bear the attack of your enemy. You tire them out, and eventually, you will gain the victory.

2. Shut the fuck up

My buddy Don Dillon gave me good advice on how to be patient:

When you’re angry, just shut the fuck up.

I took that to heart.

Now, when I’m angry, and want to be patient— I just shut the fuck up.

I close my mouth. I stop talking. Because I know that if I open up my mouth (when I’m angry), I’m going to spew poison.

Socrates once told his slave: “I would beat you, if I were not angry.”

Even when Plato was angry with his slave, he raised his hand (about to strike his slave), and then saw himself in horror. He paused, and told (another) slave: “Please discipline this slave who made an error. For I am too angry.”

3. Wait a day before yelling

My buddy Seneca also tells us a lesson: wait at least 1 full day before beating your slave. In today’s English, it means:

Wait at least one full day before yelling at someone.

99% of things that upset me, go away after a day. The emotions are like a sea. They get agitated by the storms of the wind. But if you let enough time pass, the seas will become tranquil again.

4. Slow down your breathing

Another way I help calm myself down, and be more patient: I slow down my breathing.

I start to take in deep breaths, and deep breaths out. I slow down the pace of my breathing.

I have no idea what causes me to lose patience, or become angry. But slowing down my breathing helps me calm down.

5. Look around

Often when I’m impatient with people — like waiting for someone, I treat myself like a child: I start to look around, like I’m bored.

I look around at details of the room I’m in. And often, I find hidden beauty.

6. I play songs in my head

When I am bored, impatient, or waiting on someone— I will re-play some of my favorite songs, verses, or lyrics in my head.

This is a good strategy if you’re bored, waiting in line, or impatient with someone at the DMV (department of motor vehicles).

7. I think of ideas

When I’m impatient with others, I also use that time to think of ideas. Think of ideas for my next blog post, my next YouTube video, or next photo project.

When you are bored, it is always a good chance to come up with ideas.

8. Be like a redwood tree

When we are impatient with growth and progress; let’s just look at trees.

I look at great redwood trees— and it took them hundreds (if not thousands) of years to reach their great height.

Each redwood tree started off as a small seed, a small sapling, and eventually, drawing from the resources of the earth, drinking from the water of the skies, and soaking in the warm rays of the sun, was able to (eventually, slowly over time) reach the heavens.

I think about this in terms of creative progress, business progress, personal life philosophy progress, and my growth of personal relationships with friends and family.

9. Waves crashing against a cliff

Imagine yourself like a massive cliff, overlooking the ocean. The ocean keeps crashing into your steel rocks. The oceans might slowly chip away at your rocks over thousands of years, but for the most part, you are unharmed.

You are that cliff. And the insults, critiques, sarcasm, and attacks from your adversaries (or loved ones) are like the shores of the sea. They will constantly beat upon you, but you will be able to withstand it— because your massive rocks are too powerful for puny water.

10. The noble steed isn’t annoyed by the barking of dogs

Another way to be patient: imagine people who annoy or upset you, or try to harm you, as little puppies— barking at a radiant, noble, war-horse.

11. Others are crying babies

Or imagine others like crying babies. You don’t blame babies crying on a plane. They can’t help it, they are babies. It is still annoying, but the best way to deal with it is to put on headphones, put on music, or ear-plugs.

We cannot stop the babies from crying. But we can change our own attitude.

12. Have I done the same myself?

Whenever I get annoyed or upset at others, I ask myself:

“Have I done this myself?”

99% of the time the answer is yes. So do I have the right to get upset at others, for a crime I have once committed?

13. Don’t make eye contact

When I am impatient with others, or start to feel my blood boil from anger, I try not to make eye contact. Making eye contact just stirs up anger in my soul.

14. Imagine others as your sick patients

If you’re a doctor, and you have sick patients in your hospital— are you angry with them?

No, you just help cure them.

So if you’re a doctor, have more patience with your patients.

Conclusion

Patience is truly a virtue. Let us be like redwood trees, and focus on steady growth over centuries. Let us be like the cliffs of the sea— strong, and impervious to the waves of the ocean. Let us be noble steeds (horses), and disregard the barking of little puppies.

Always be strong,
Eric

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