A few years back I did a trip to India for a month. I was there for some work, but mostly pleasure. Before going I was surprised at the advice that everyone offered (most of it unsolicited I might add). Things like don't drink the water, don't eat the street food, watch out for the cows and the monkeys etc.
Whilst they were all helpful tips, the street food is safe and delicious and I did get my foot trodden on by a cow, but I managed to avoid being bitten by a rabid monkey. However the best piece of advice came from a friend who I think really understood India. He told me to take a book everywhere I go--and he emphasized "everywhere". For those who haven't been to India, there are queues and waiting required--for pretty much everything, often with little to no reason for the wait.
When confronted with these queues, you have two choices, work out a way to deal with them or get grumpy and start being a pushy Westerner. The later will have no impact at all, no matter how angry you might get, or frustrated you might feel. Following his advice, I never needed to get angry or frustrated, I simply pulled out my book and started reading. It was kind of nice and it grew on me over time.
The interesting part is that this habit stuck with me ever since going to India. I never leave home without a book or two. Whenever I am confronted with a wait of some sort, rather than get stressed out I pull out my book and start reading.As a result of this I have read hundreds of books in recent years, and I've learned a great deal.
Those snatches of five minutes here, ten minutes there, are the perfect place to read a few pages of a book, learn something, challenge preconceived thoughts, grow, feel inspired and pretty much everything else that can be achieved by reading a good book.
This has also made me much more patient and able to stop and appreciate a moment, rather than doing the standard grumpy thing. This is kind of nice when we live in a world that seems increasingly short on patience.
Of course now we have access to digital books, which can make it easier. Or so I thought. But what I noticed when I started to read something on my phone I tended to check email, see what was happening on social media and do nothing overly productive. So now I'm back to reading my book at any opportunity--and always a hard copy.
We live in a world where knowledge is vital, we need to commit time to learning more every day. Keeping a book handy is a great way of doing exactly that and perhaps learning to be patient at the same time.