The Art of Patience
Updated: Feb 18
So I decided to start the new year dealing with an emotion (or is it a skill? Still contemplating) that has been evading me for years now. It's only fair, as it's a new year, harbinger of hope and aspirations.
How often have you encountered dismayed colleagues or friends thumping and swearing in front of their computer screens if the response to their command is not instant? And how often have you reacted similarly? As this year comes to an end and, as many would do, I started to think of my New year resolutions. I have to admit that the one thing I have been yearning for is the art of being patient (and I am certainly not the only one). Patience, from my perspective, is quite a difficult art to master, an art developed over years of self-control and moderation.
It does not work by saying, " I would like some patience and I would like it NOW!".
Identifying the problem
I look at it this way, admitting to a problem is like winning half the battle. You only need to focus your energy towards winning the other half but doing so consciously. (So I am halfway across the battlefield :-))
Lets try and point out the factors that lead to lack of patience. Impatience can be triggered purely due to Habit. We are habituated to certain things being done in a certain way and if it does not conform we lose it. Like the internet, it got us all so used to speedy answers and resolutions that our patience towards it is as much as 4 seconds. Also, unlike the common belief that lack of time to achieve the results can lead to impatience albeit too much of time can also cause a feeling of impatience. It probably depends on the priority of the task in our lives. Patience can also be put to test through feelings of competition, fear of social assessment, career benchmarks and many other modern day negativities associated with the feeling of 'fitting in'.
The onset of it all
Come to think of it, how did this trait even come into existence as a modern human characteristic? From hunters patiently waiting for their prey, farmers patiently waiting for the yearly yields to impatient technological slaves.
Perhaps it all started with the invention of the wheel. This first wheel gave us the urge and hope to accomplish things faster, to make money quicker (After all, it does boil down to the moolah!). This continued urge and desire to hasten things led to one invention after another through decades. With every invention/discovery life was supposed to get easier, calmer rather it diminished our patience bit-by-bit. Slowly and steadily increasing our dependability on the 'fast' machines and gnawing upon the remnants of patience.
Then comes the biggest invention, the messiah of all, the Internet, crumbling the remains of any patience left behind. In this fast-paced world of instant gratification we are made to believe that everything and anything is attainable and attainable NOW.
And as average humans compete with artificial intelligent beings, all skills seem short-lived paving way for a set of new skills which will also be short-lived. Thus adding to the looming impatience and thereby anxiety.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished" - Lao Tzu
For instance, FOMO, acronym for Fear of missing out, this ubiquitous new- age jargon well defines the deterioration of human composure and patience. Inspired by the millennials and the likes, it found its way into the urban dictionaries and psychological studies very much near the fag end of the 20th century. Well, millennials and social anxiety disorders its a topic for another day altogether. Nonetheless, growing impatience is clearly a proven side effect of it.
Is there any place or any need for patience?
But there is! Patience is the underlying reason for perseverance, for relentlessly going after something. With patience comes satisfaction and contentment.
The need for patience is more now than ever before. Where the world wide web is out to make you feel that everything is attainable at the click of the mouse and at your doorstep or on your computer screen. Take a step back, decide, do we need all what is offered? Do I need the 5 day plan to lose 1o kilos or should I eat right, exercise, sleep well and do it the natural way. It's a choice upon us. Like I said, Realization is the first step to improvement.
"Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind" - David G. Allen
Things I intend on doing this year
Since its my new year resolution to become more patient I intend to start by self-reflection.
As a child, it was a routine instilled, to reflect on the day gone by, to think of one good and one bad thing we did that day. It was such an insightful thing my mom preached. Somewhere in my journey I had lost it. I intend to pick it up once again. It's such a wonderful way to take time and give credit to yourself where it's due and critically view what could have been done better or better yet avoided.
Get realistic. I may be a super mom but I am still human and it is as much I can do.
Accept failure. It's a great stepping stone to success and a teacher of humility.
Express gratitude today and not postpone the feeling of happiness for a future date or for after an anticipated event will occur. Happiness is irrelevant to future outcomes.