There are many obstacles in life that delay and sometimes all together prevent the progress that you have your heart and mind set on within any given timeframe.

Unfortunately, many of said obstacles are people, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced the arduous task that is trying to change people. I believe in miracles but more often than not, avoiding the former is simply the best solution.

Whether or not your ‘people’ issue is a family, friend or work-centred one, here are 5 tips to help preserve your sanity when interacting with characters that well, you’d rather not be part of your story:

1. Accept that you cannot change others. The old idiom, “a leopard cannot change its spots” still rings true in the human world. I like to think that we each have the capacity to grow and become better versions of ourselves and that we should empower one another to do so, but not everyone likes to compromise.  Thus for your own sake, assume that in general, people (like leopards) cannot (or will not) change who they are and just learn to adjust to that.

2. Don’t expect others to think/say/do as you would in a particular situation. Each of us is different and therefore react differently to various circumstances.

3. Try patience and kindness instead of resistance and hostility. Don’t allow anybody’s negativity bring out ugly qualities – how you feel inside will start to show on the outside!

4. Master the art of breathing and letting go. The natural reflex of being annoyed by someone is stress and frustration. Take a beat, count to three or sing the theme song from Disney’s Frozen in your head before you answer or deal with the annoying party.

5. Embrace and be the heroic protagonist that your story demands. You will make mistakes, ruffle feathers, be let down by others as well as yourself but at the end of the day, self-belief, passion and persistence will help get you to where you want to be. And if you’re still not satisfied by the end of the book, there is always the option of writing a sequel.

This has more so been a note-to-self than anything else but here’s hoping it also helps you deal with any stubborn, annoying leopards in your life.

NB. I think leopards are beautiful animals, the semantics around their genetic make-up have simply allowed me to creatively anchor the idea for this post.