Ugandans - An Example Of Patience
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Ugandans   -   An Example Of Patience

The Ugandans are a very patient people. As an Indian in that country for the past several years, it was a study in contrasts. To paraphrase Dieter Friedrich Uchtdorf , a German airline executive and religious leader, patience is not apathetic surrender, nor is it an absence of action because of one’s fears; patience is dynamic, waiting for the opportune moment. It means bearing with fortitude something that one may have no power to change immediately, even if it means enduring discomfort or hardships.

Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of self-centredness. It is the attribute of the selfish the self absorbed. It’s like saying ‘Look my time or my opinion is more important than yours’.

I see this patience being played out every day, in the way they endure the nerve racking traffic jams, personal tragedies and even strife. I have rarely seen raised voices even under the most trying circumstances.

What is presumed as accepted courtesy but often contravened is scrupulously followed here. I have learnt never to interrupt people when they were talking, even when they were having difficulty expressing themselves. During such moments, their pauses, where they placed emphasis and their sudden shifts of subject matter revealed a lot about them. Even during intense arguments, they do not interrupt when the other is making a point; this is a way of saying “I respect you and you have a right to be listened to”. This automatically cools the temperature.

When we are given the space to express ourselves without the irreverence of interruption, it stimulates our creative juices. Concepts begin to flower and spring to life. Who do we go to when we are in distress; it most likely will not be someone who starts recounting his own experiences, but a gracious soul who will give us a patient hearing.

Effective listening would mean to apply oneself to what is being said; shutting out the myriad thoughts coursing through our heads or framing a response to the issue. One way is to look at the person speaking, his body language and mannerisms in addition to what is being said. The Ugandan looks at you intensely when you speak, as if, for the moment, you are the only one in existence.

One challenge is that in this day and age, when everything is moving so fast and where the competition to get ahead is intense, virtues like patience may fall as causalities by the way-side. I have till now rarely seen any irascibility or brusqueness even among the upwardly mobile. I am sure the Ugandan can draw on his tranquillity and forbearance to counter that.

image courtesy of stockimages


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