The Dying Art of Patience
How patient of a person do you think you are? Think hard. How okay are you with letting things happen at their own pace?
Many of us may consider ourselves patient people, but find ourselves constantly pressured to rush towards one or another finish line—in work, in relationships, in life. Unfortunately, we live in a time when the virtue of patience often goes unencouraged and unrewarded, especially by the media, where instantaneous gratification prevails.
So as a society we have grown to expect things to be faster yet better, more rewarding yet easier to accomplish. It seems with the advent of technology and insta-culture, true patience is becoming more and more of a rarity.
But faster is not always better. I mean, there is an entire Aesop’s Fable on that very concept. There is a reason that patience is a virtue…
Patience is a practiced art in itself. It requires mindfulness and quiet confidence. It requires faith in yourself and others. It requires dedicated perseverance. With patience comes reward, one that cannot be attained instantly. You can’t expect to lose 10 pounds after one day of eating better. You won’t become a legendary musician after posting 1 or 2 YouTube videos. You’re not going to become a master of chess after winning against the computer 3 times.
These things all require perseverance, struggle, passion and discipline. But, in this age of instant rewards, we have become accustomed to expecting near instant results in our endeavors. And when things don’t move as quickly as we’d like, we consider ourselves failures and move on to something easier. Having patience means you’re willing to put in the work and wait for your success. It means you’re willing to wait for others. It means you’re willing to actually commit to experiencing the entirety of something, as difficult as it may be. If nothing else, it is a practice in mindfulness and being in the present.
Of course, practiced patience improves you all around. Those with patience often exhibit better decision-making skills, form stronger relationships, have greater self-confidence and feel generally less stressed. One study showed that people who were determined to be more patient were actually both healthier and wealthier than less patient people in their peer group. Cultivating a little more patience in your own life can pay off dividends in more ways than you’d guess.
At its core, however, being patient means you are confident that the best is steadily coming your way even if life is a bit of a struggle. It is a positive state of mind that allows you to enjoy the bumpy ride, knowing you’ll eventually get to an incredible destination. It’s something a lot of us should practice more. Try to find small moments throughout your day to be a little more patient. Next time things get tough, embrace the moment; don’t rush to the finish line.