But I want to be patient now!

My daily commute is about 25 miles and usually takes about 35-40 minutes.  This week I had one day where it took me almost an hour to travel 17 of those 25 miles.  There have been a couple of occasions where my commute has taken two hours! On days like these, my patience runs extremely thin!  Needless to say, it can be extremely frustrating!  Have you ever been there?

Photo Credit: Brett Jordan via Compfight cc

I think it was my generation who coined the phrase, “microwave generation”.  The urban dictionary defines the term as “describing our fascination with instant gratification. Cell phones, txt/sms messages, and email”.  And this definition was adopted in 2006!  The world has not slowed down over the past ten years!

In a fast paced world, it seems that nothing is quick enough.  Microwaves heat food in a couple of minutes, but we want it done faster.  Internet speeds have dramatically increased, but waiting more than a few seconds for a website to load is unacceptable.  Instant coffee.  Minute Rice.  Are we, as a society, growing more impatient each day?

The problem is that impatience can lead to negative results.

1) Dissatisfaction – what I have now is not good enough.  I need the latest iPhone now!

2) Anger and frustration – traffic!  Need I say more?  Trying to get somewhere only to encounter an accident or everyone else wanting to go to the same place can be frustrating.

3) Poor decision making – this often results in financial distress.  However, poor decisions can affect all areas of life especially relationships.

4)Damage to relationships – being impatient with our children, spouse, or co-workers can cause emotional injuries which can be difficult to resolve.

With a world so obsessed with the quick and easy, I wonder if future generations will know how hard it is to achieve success.  Impatience seems to be a hindrance to understanding the arduous work and sustained commitment it takes to produce something of lasting impact.  I recently listened to an interview given by the founder of copyblogger.com, Brian Clark.  He indicated that he started building online businesses in 1998, founded copyblogger in 2006, and is now considered an “overnight success”.  His comment reminded me of how Dave Ramsey regularly talks about working hard for 25 years to be an “overnight success”.  Ed Catmull, one of the co-founders of Pixar Animation Studios, reveals how it took him over 20 years to realize his dream of creating the first computer animated feature film.  

These men demonstrate the results that can be achieved when impatience is set aside for working towards a larger goal.  I expect that all three of them would admit to being impatient at times along the way to achieving their goals.  Reaching lofty heights requires a long-term view.  Each step along the journey requires patience.  I have discovered that learning to be patient requires me to remain in situations where patience is necessary.

One example from my own life is this blog.  I would rather launch it and attract hundreds of readers.  I would prefer that the writing each week flows easily from my mind.  Instead, I have to take a long-term view and be patient as I grow as a writer and steadily gather readers.  I am convinced that the results of patience are worth pursuing.  Two of these results are:

1) Character development – as I am challenged to remain patient, my inner strength is exercised like a muscle.

2) Greater appreciation of the result – working diligently and for a prolonged period of time on accomplishing a goal will bring greater satisfaction than something that requires no investment.

In a world of instant satisfaction, the challenge is to embrace patience.  Developing a lifestyle of patience will deliver a greater return over time.  That challenge is not easy, but the results are what I desire.

Question: Do you struggle with impatience?  What are you pursuing that requires you to be patient? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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