‘One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life’. Chinese proverb
How would you rate your patience in life?
When confronted with a long traffic delay, or the bank line that never moves, do you easily become agitated and frustrated?
Ironically, the word patience is derived from the Latin word pati, which means to suffer, to endure, to bear.
Patience is a virtue, and there’s a reason – it’s a tough skill to master.
Patience is the ability to tolerate waiting, delay, or frustration without becoming agitated or upset. It is being able to control your emotions or impulses and proceed calmly when faced with difficult or frustrating situations.
What does research tell us about our ability to be patient?
Evidence suggests impatience seems to be growing more and more common in our modern world.
A recent research study, conducted by data analysis company OnePoll, uncovered some valuable insights into the patience limits of 2000 people in the U.K.
A large number of respondents indicated frustration levels rising after waiting……
- 16 seconds for a webpage to load
- 25 seconds for a traffic signal to change from red to green
- 20 seconds for ink to dry on a greeting card
- 22 seconds for a movie to start streaming
- 18 seconds looking for a pen
- 28 seconds for a kettle to boil
- 30 seconds in a line
- 14 minutes for food in a restaurant
- 11 minutes for charging a mobile to turn on
- 13 minutes to pick up flight luggage
- 2 hour and 18 minutes for a customer complaint to be resolved
- 90 minutes for a response to a work e mail
50% admitted they would probably move to another queue if the one they are in appears to be moving more slowly.
45 % confessed to losing their temper when having to wait an ‘excessive’ amount of time.
Similarly, a study by market research Company, Wakefield Research, also revealed some notable data relevant to people’s impatience:
- 72% push an elevator button that is already lit hoping it will come faster
- 71% frequently exceed the speed limit to get to a destination quicker
- Over 50% hang up a telephone call if they are on hold 1 minute or less
This information would indicate that the general population is struggling on a daily basis to remain patient when confronted with any form of delay. They are triggered easily and have a small window of tolerance.
What is driving this growing trend of impatience?
Researchers at OnePoll asked this question to better understand what people believe might be the contributing factor to their lack of patience.
75% of all respondents believed their lack of patience was directly related to their growing dependence on digital technology, such as smartphones and on-demand TVs.
Technology is the root cause of growing impatience
Technology seems to be conditioning us to expect everything to happen without any delay. People expect not only information now. They also expect the actual products and services now, too.
The demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives. Smartphone eliminate the wait for an Uber ride home, a date, or a table at a restaurant. Movies and TV shows begin streaming in seconds.
These claims were supported by another study by customer service specialists KANA Software.
They found technology played a big part in customer services complaints and expectations. Before the arrival of the digital era, 10 days was perceived as a suitable time period before receiving a reply.
Now, with direct access made available via digital devices, this time frame expectancy has reduced drastically.
KANA reported 20% all technology users will check for a response at least once an hour, with 5% checking every 10 minutes.
What are the consequences?
Creating an expectation of instant delivery creates an increased inner pressure for instant satisfaction. It’s a convenience experts warn that this need will come at a price.
A growing culture based on convenience
In his book ‘What about the Big Stuff?’ Richard Carlson highlights the need to better understand our impatience. It’s too easy to blame someone for our unhappiness in the moment. He believes life has become too convenient and we take too much for granted.
The bestselling author Mark Manson supports this claim.
In his recent article titled, ‘HOW TO BE PATIENT IN AN IMPATIENT WORLD,’ He argues: “The upside of convenience is short-lived. The downside is constant and perpetual. And when we’re optimizing our lives for convenience, we’re setting ourselves up for a near-constant sense of irritation and entitlement”.
Our beliefs about what convenience and technology should bring will always have limitations that will challenge our patience.
Being psychologically aware Uber may not have drivers in the area when you need one, or your mobile calls will keep dropping out, is a potential reality of life we all need to be prepared for.
Time to change our attitude
Joyce Meyer, in her book ‘Battlefield of the Mind’, states: “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
We need to acknowledge impatience will always arise when we try and force life to give us what we want.
In his book ‘Stillness Speaks’, bestselling author Eckhart Tolle reminds us when there is conflict between the inner and outer world there will always be pain and suffering.
When you can recognise this, change our attitude and let go of the controlling tendency we gain a better sense of freedom.
How to cultivate patience
The good news is more and more people are recognising the issues of technology and seeking ways to calm their impatient minds.
Developing patience can be a challenge, but the rewards for a peaceful and happy life are worth the effort.
My top 4 tips to help you get there are:
- When you feel rushed slow down
- Develop awareness around what triggers you
- Reframe your perspective to the situation
- Cultivate acceptance and letting go
Our reliance on technology can give us convenience for get things done. However, this dependency comes with a big health warning.
To enjoy life to its full potential we need balance and a perspective that allows us the chance to make patience a virtue in our life.
Surely this is worth striving for.