Zen describes several kinds of patience that can be practiced at work: acceptance of difficulty and hardship, not acting hastily, and acceptance of what is true. Let’s explore these.
Acceptance of difficulty. Our lives at work can be transformed when we completely accept that difficulty is to be expected and cannot be avoided. This doesn’t mean we take the negative attitude of “what will go wrong today?” Instead, we just pay attention to our own state of mind. We make our best effort. We meet each situation as it arises.
Not acting hastily. Given how difficult, unpredictable, and stressful our work lives can be, it is easy to respond quickly and impatiently. In difficult situations, just stop, think, and look more carefully at what really is the cause of the difficulty. When your computer crashes you can get upset and yell at whoever is in charge of your computer systems. Or, when your computer crashes, what if you just stop, take a breath, and notice your breathing, notice what is around you.
Acceptance of what is true. Most of our impatience comes from our wanting things to be different from what they are. Our overnight package did not arrive overnight. This is just true. There is nothing we can do to change what is. We can take actions to expedite the package’s delivery, but this action includes accepting what is difficult, not acting hastily, and accepting what is true.
When are you patient and when you are impatient at work?
What is most difficult for you at work?
What part of this difficulty do you create?
How can you transform this difficulty?
Adapted from Z.B.A. Zen of Business Administration.