I was born impatient. Whether I was standing in a line or wanting something to happen faster, I didn’t like to wait. There was no trust or belief things would unfold as they should. Impatience can cause suffering and anxiousness. It is something we can overcome with mindfulness once we recognize and accept we really have little control in life.
Impatience comes from our Little Voice or ego. It values your time, seeing it as a scarce commodity. It wants things for you when you want them. If we were doing action-packed, purposeful things while waiting for whatever we are impatient for it would be less difficult but most of us when impatient get locked in a head game. It is our thoughts about waiting that are uncomfortable not the actual waiting itself.
Letting Go of Impatience
If we become more patient and trusting that life will unfold exactly as it’s supposed to how will it change our lives? We see the cost of impatience all around us: horns honking, fingers flipping, smiles drooping, and people suffering all because things aren’t going the way they wanted them to. We can increase the joy in our lives by letting go of time. That doesn’t mean you let go of the actionable items you have prioritized and planned. It means you let go of the speed in which things outside of your control happen. You also let go of predictable triggers like traffic, lines at Starbucks, the speed in which your kids pick things up, or your partner helping you. You can also let go of things unfolding at work unless they are items that require a promise or deadline.
When we let go of impatience we don’t become some mellow, laid back person we don’t even recognize – we become less anxious. We become more equipped and calm when things take longer than they should. We are more present and able to enjoy life.
In the business world impatience is a top driving value. The speed in which you do things matters so we often project this onto other situations or people. A Boss or a leader pushes their team constantly with disappointment. The demand for things faster causes even more issues. The quality of work may be compromised because of the pressure the employee felt. To many employees never feel like they are enough because they can never get things done fast enough to please their superiors. It is almost as if to be a boss or a leader you need to be impatient. I am not suggesting we let go of deadlines or priorities. I am suggesting we take a deeper look at projects or plans and really assess what is realistic before we get a firm commitment on timelines. We set ourselves up constantly to be triggered by impatience and we could do a much better job keeping things in harmony.
Students and Teachers
I believe impatient people and procrastinators are brought together constantly like a student and teacher. Have you ever looked at all of this as a gift rather than a burden? Have you ever considered why, when you are so frazzled and panicked life can make it even worse? Like you then can’t find your keys or the barista is taking forever? Take inventory of all your impatience and see how life has continuously been bringing you opportunities to realize how silly it is.
Once my mindset shifted to all I would be doing is “hurrying up to die,” I was able to slow my life way down. I went from running to walking like Forest Gump. If you remember in the movie he runs across the country and then suddenly he stops. That is what we all need to do when we realize it is all for not.
We see powerful and impatient business people dropping like flies from heart disease, strokes, alcoholism, or other addictions. We cannot tolerate forever the speed at which so many people and companies operate. It is important to see this so we can really make a difference.
We set ourselves up daily by failing to manage our time or waiting until the last minute and procrastinating. This pressure is then projected onto others because we don’t think we have enough time and if they aren’t fast enough we are then triggered. It is a vicious cycle that affects us all. Stress is not good for our physical and emotional health.
We must slow down and smell the roses. We must recognize the beauty of the present moment is shattered when we don’t think things are happening fast enough. I urge you to slow down this week, stop multi-tasking and manage your real priorities better so there is nothing to grow impatient over. Being patient is a top driving value for me now because I do realize my type A-ness wants to come out and be a driver. That’s awesome but I do it now with patience.