ENFPs have such wonderfully upbeat qualities. The exuberance! The optimism! The compulsive exploration! You're an unstoppable force of mountain-moving productivity and creation... if only you could find a little focus.
It's fair to say that focus does not come naturally to an ENFP. You have a habit of flying by the seat of your pants and get bored with mundane tasks about one hundred times faster than the average Joe. Your patience can occasionally wait the melting of glaciers, especially when you are listening to people or helping them through hardship. The rest of the time, you are as impatient as a hungry baby, screaming in all it's puce-faced glory and demanding instant gratification.
Inefficiency, dumb rules, paperwork, waiting in line - these and other banalities test everyone's patience. Yet those who perfect the technique are seen as intelligent, disciplined, calm and trustworthy, like the monks of Tibetan Buddhism. People who struggle with patience are seen as flighty, uncentered and incompetent. It's an unfair perception, of course. But it's fair to say that no one ever became a top athlete, potty trained a toddler or reached the pinnacle of their career without a firm grasp of patience.
So how can ENFPs develop patience in work and in life? Here are some tips.
#1: Apply the 10 second rule
Life is not a race. To accomplish anything, you're going to have to push through the mundane aspects of a project and stick with it to the bitter end - no matter how long it takes. For ENFPs who have a lot of stuff going on in their head, this means switching gears from "mind full" to "mindful." In other words, you have to let go of the legion of ideas and start acting in a way that has a higher probability of achieving your goals.
If you start losing patience with a situation, stop. Wait 10 seconds before you make a move. Then, with a calmer mind, review your status and understand just what action would benefit you the most in that moment. Is the choice you're about to make the right one? Waiting just a little is often enough to give you some reflection. At the end of the day, record all the ways in which you've made smarter, more proportionate, decisions. Try to do this on a daily basis.
#2: Start with small intolerances
Patience professionals - there is such a job! - recommend patience-training yourself with a small intolerance that aggravates but is not entirely unbearable. For example, you might do the chores around the house that are boring, yet necessary, or drive in slow-moving traffic. As you endure through this, recognize that boredom is merely uncomfortable, not intolerable, and try to spot your own avoidance patterns so you can face them better in the future. The idea is to build your patience muscle so that when the larger irritations come, you will have developed the resilience to deal with them.
#3: Commit to a creative project
If you really want to be more patient, purchase some seeds and see if you can cultivate a garden. Slow-growing plant varieties are a good choice since they grow in their own sweet time. You'll have to nurture your plants through the entire growing process before you get any reward for your efforts. Eventually, you will have a beautiful flower or vegetable garden - a confidence-building reminder that you can be patient.
Other "slow work" projects such as painting, writing, web design, putting together a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle or reading "War and Peace" work just as well. No matter how long it takes you to finish the project, enduring the weeks or months of effort will help you strengthen your patience muscle.
Ultimately, developing patience is an inside job. Every day you need to work at it and feed your abilities through endurance and effort. But when you persist and stay focused, the reward is deeply satisfying - and far easier than you might have believed.