Patience is defined as “the state of endurance under difficult circumstances.”  This can mean many different things to various people. This can mean persevering in times of hardship or abuse, or avoiding rash action or becoming needlessly angry. Patience is more like a non-reaction than a reaction.

Whenever there is conflict or some form of discomfort in our lives, our first reaction—indeed our instinct—is to react. We usually react with vehemence when we are scared or agitated. We lash out. We lose our tempers. We criticize. Though conflict and reaction is just a part of human nature, such rash thinking has been responsible for great bloodshed, world wars, premature death, and years and years of nationwide resentment.

It’s safe to say that sometimes the greatest reaction is a non-reaction. When we exercise the quality of patience, we stop ourselves from taking immediate action. We do not emotionally react to an uncomfortable situation. We distance ourselves from the challenge long enough to understand it in logical terms. Eventually, we may decide to take action or to express our dissatisfaction—yes even our anger—with someone else. However, when we do so we will not be emotionally reacting. This will be a decision based on facts, logic and influenced by our quality of patience.

Just think of how different the world would be if everyone learned the quality of patience. Indeed, the world would change. You could even say that patience has the power to “rule the world”, because the most logical people in life usually make the wisest choices. People who react rashly will eventually make the wrong decision, and that decision could cost someone his or her life.

Someone who is patient can work with others, and focus on practical solutions to challenges. Indeed, this is a trait that the greatest world leaders in history have all cultivated.  You can cultivate this quality too—and rule the world with kindness.