Last week I flew to Paris and while I loved the sights, sounds and historical streets, something surprised me more than the beauty of the city.
People had patience.
One morning while standing in line at a cafe, I tried my best to communicate in French. I mixed up what I meant to order and had a hard time figuring out the correct change. To my surprise, an enormous line formed behind me.
"Ahh! An obvious American moment where all the chic French people will roll their eyes and speak in French to each other about my incompetence."
After a few seconds of anxiety, I realized no one displayed any acknowledgment of my ordering snafu. Everyone looked relaxed and happy, even if that meant waiting a few extra minutes for their croissants.
My initial response is to always place high value on businesses and situations that make life seemingly easier: "That food came so quickly" or "I'm so grateful for food delivery like Seamless." My personal favorite, "Yes! I chose the right line through airport security...I'm moving so FAST!"
Perhaps the French people I encountered were just having a good day or maybe the universe was sending me a much needed lesson to put my "rush, rush, rush" mentality behind me and show more compassion for people who aren't moving at lightning speed. Patience can be one of those qualities that really pays it forward to others.
As much as my brain would argue otherwise, life isn't an efficiency contest. My weekend in Paris reminded me that slower can be better and less efficiency can be an opportunity to let go even more. Take the fast with the slow and look for the space in between because it could be teaching you something important...at least it was for me.
Every day this week I'll be doing my best to move slowly and look for the lessons in the waiting. I'll simply wait for the train instead of wondering how long until it arrives and I'll take big breaths when someone walks slowly in front of me - a challenge for this efficient-minded individual (I live in New York City!) but something worth doing. Progress, not perfection is the name of the game and I'm grateful for the Parisian reminder to slow down, take a sip of my espresso and simply enjoy.
How do you stay patient when you're running errands or eating out? Any mindfulness tips you want to share? Write in the comments section and share your wisdom.
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