Build Your Visionary Skills with Mindful Patience

As a creativity coach, I know that many of the great visionary leaders of business, innovation, and the arts had the patience and dedication to successfully envision their creative endeavors. For those who find patience challenging, a mindfulness practice can help you relate to time differently and expand your patience and creativity. 


A regular mindfulness meditation practice helps people become more flexible, collaborative and patient. It’s easier for them to drop any defensiveness because they have more self-compassion and patience with themselves. Novelty and originality become more welcome in their room of self as they more easily shift into what I call a state of “open mind” where they can access their core creativity.  


Many years ago, I saw Robin Williams perform at a club in Los Angeles long before he became a famous comedian. He was doing improv with a partner from the comedy group Off the Wall and completely bombing. No one was cracking a smile, and it was uncomfortable sitting there waiting for the team to finally make a joke land or save us all a lot of agony by leaving the stage. 


I could see from the program that Williams was scheduled to come on stage again later in the evening as a solo comic and thought, “How is this guy going to come back from that awful performance?” I almost left the theater early, but, for some reason, decided to see if the rest of the show was any better. When Williams performed again, he was so hilarious my face hurt from laughing. I walked out of there thinking how glad I was that he hadn’t let his failure stop him from performing a second time that night — and that I’d given him a second chance.  


Later, he would do some marvelously comic performances improvising with partners. He seemed to have learned from his past failures rather than giving up and vowing to only work solo. Comedians need to work out their timing in front of audiences, and I’m guessing Robin Williams didn’t find it easy to persevere at his craft given that when he failed, he did so in a very public way. Still, he had to be bad before he could get good. He had to be patient and persevere. 


It’s said that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, which means you’ll have to develop a lot of patience. Even if you were to work at something eight hours a day, it would take three and a half years to become a master. Fortunately, here’s a mindful patience meditation to help you grow more patient. 


Mindful patience meditation 

  1. Sit in a relaxed and comfortable position and rest your gaze at the tip of your nose (keeping your eyes open or closed, whichever is most comfortable) as you focus on your breath.


  1. Now bring to the foreground of your mind’s awareness a project that you worked on where you became frustrated and impatient, causing you to complete the project with regret and discomfort with the process or to drop it altogether. Maybe you were too impulsive or wound it up too quickly, not giving the project the time it needed.


  1. Now, go back, and this time see yourself mentally repeating, “There’s plenty of time.” Take long, slow breaths and exhale slowly to entrain your brain and nervous system to slow down. This will quiet your impulsivity and sense of urgency.


  1. As you feel yourself slowing down and resting, notice how you feel in your body. Connect to that energy, bringing your awareness to it. Observe just how easy it is for you to move from impatience into patience. Pay attention to how your nervous system is comfortably settling down to a slower pace of operation.


  1. Now, remaining connected to the new energy of patience, continue to inhale and exhale in long, slow breaths, and as you exhale, think to yourself, “Patience pays off. My rhythm. My timing.” Continue to repeat these statements to yourself as you experience the calming rhythm of your breathing. Notice that as you draw in breath, exhale, and rest, you’re experiencing a perfect circle of breathing.


Continue with the meditation until you feel you’re ready to end it. 


Ronald A. Alexander, PhD, is the author of the new book, Core Creativity: The Mindful Way to Unlock Your Creative Self (Rowman & Littlefield, June 21, 2022), upon which this article is based. He is a mind-body psychotherapist, an international trainer, and a creativity, business and leadership coach. He has a private psychotherapy and executive coaching practice in Santa Monica, California. He’s the executive director of the OpenMind® Training Program that offers personal and professional training programs in mindfulness-based therapies, transformational leadership and meditation. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Wise Mind, Open Mind: Finding Purpose and Meaning in Times of Crisi... (2008). Learn more at


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