To tolerate is to endure without interference. I wish Sage Patanjali had included this in his definitions of yamas and niyamas. Without tolerance there is no exact fit. Even in precision engineering, where metals are machined to a fraction of the millimeter, there is always a tolerance i.e., a + or a – that the other fitting part has to, or must, accommodate. Only with this tolerance the two parts will fit together. In the world of humans where one human has to work with or live with another human being or a set of other humans, tolerance is a must. Without tolerance, you can get the common, combined goals accomplished to a certain extent, but not completely. Without tolerance there will be no support from the other participants for you to get to a complete success. We have all seen autocracies and autocratic style of leaderships eventually fail.

Developing tolerance is not an exotic skill. Having an open mind is all that you need. You have to be able to see what you see as conflict and be able to assess if it really comes in the way of achieving your objective. If it does, then you can usually have a discussion and make the other understand. However, if two or more ideas all lead to the same path, that is when one has to take a step back and see if putting down one’s foot is the way to go. Many people are afraid that if things aren’t done their way or one particular way, their significance is undermined. But, getting from point A to point B is not a straight line, there are many lines. In fact, there are infinite possibilities and by recognizing this fact you are setting yourself to enjoy the journey as opposed to just getting the job done. Coming back to the point where one feels undermined if he or she doesn’t have his/her own way – my experience has been as you proceed working around the one particular opportunity or obstacle by letting go, you open yourself to many more opportunities.

Tolerance is one essential quality that defines success in a partnership. You can develop a master plan, you can make investments, hire people to do the work, etc, etc. but over a period of time, what endures the success is tolerance. We have seen so many successful business partnerships dissolve over time. What once was inseparable, over time becomes separated. This can be directly related to a diminishing of tolerance between the parties involved. This holds good even for domestic alliances or marriages. What had made marriages in the eastern world and in particular India in the past is the level of tolerance tolerated by the couple. One gets to accept the fact that no one is perfect and in that maturity, they develop a sustaining and successful marriage. One gets to and must recognize tolerance plays an important role in sustaining a marriage. There could be other valid reasons to break up a partnership, but assuming the partnership was sound in the first place, it should only grow over time as opposed to a dissolution.

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