Patience and Fortitude, the pair of world-renowned, imposing marble lions situated in front of the majestic Beaux-Arts library building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. They have captured the admiration of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world since the library was dedicated back in 1911.
I thought about the lions this morning when I went to see my physical therapist and absolutely fumbled my attempt at asking her in French, about her weekend. For the record the language barrier I experience here in Cannes has been awkward. Consequently, I decided to treat myself to French lessons to build on the few phrases I have mastered. Trust me my food French, ordering at a restaurant, boulangerie, poissonnerie, etc. is adequate. I have developed some everyday phrases when people ask me how I am. One of my favorite sayings is “Je suis content.” I have even rehearsed 10 reasons in response to the next question people always ask “Pourquoi?” Then I am lost. End of conversation.
This morning I was way off my game after two weeks of intensive lessons. My therapist knew I had enrolled in a language school and sensed I was frustrated. She told me to be patient and stick with it, French is a complicated language. It is going to take more than two weeks of lessons. Suddenly I thought about a guiding principle I value, especially in my business life Patience and Fortitude, a topic I posted about in the past.
My therapist is bi-lingual and has been helping me with my conversational French. She also taught me to get rid of my standard reply when someone asks how am I? “Je suis content!” She told me a typical French male would never say they are content. She advised me French people like to complain.
Slow down and remember: Patience and Fortitude!