Regardless of how calm you remain when you are delayed or held up, there will always be an opportunity to improve your patience. Sometimes the smallest delays can cause you to be extremely frustrated and aggravated, often carrying over into other unrelated situations in your life. It is at these times where you need to take a step back and recognize exactly what is making you so impatient, and what actions you can take to become more patient.
Simply stated, patience is the ability to not get upset when experiencing delays. There are endless reasons why individuals become impatient. Some popular ones include being stuck in traffic, waiting for a colleague or friend who is late for a meeting, or the anticipation of a significant life event such as your partner proposing to you. You can become more patient by:
- writing down what makes you impatient and limiting the number of times you put yourself in that scenario
- be grateful for all that you do have
- recognize it is okay to feel uncomfortable while being impatient
- take some deep breaths
- be realistic with your goals and deadlines
- visualize the worst-case scenario
Continue reading below on the background of patience and why people become impatient. Or, click here to skip down to learn more about the six tips on how to be more patient.
What Is Patience?
Patience is the ability to not get angry or upset when experiencing delays, or setbacks in relation to all aspects of your life.
Things rarely happen in life when they are supposed to, or when you think they are supposed to. Your ability to remain calm and composed when aspects of your life aren’t moving as quickly as you had hoped them to, is patience.
Examples of patience can be seen in all ranges of timeframes from a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, and up to several years.
Showing patience on a small time scale could include remaining calm while stuck in traffic on your drive home from work, or waiting for your dinner to cook despite you beginning to get more aggravated as your hunger increases.
Alternatively, examples of displaying patience in regards to a larger time frame can include remaining composed and continuing to work hard as you wait for a promotion at your job, or as you are working to build your customer base for the new business you started.
Reasons Why Individuals Become Impatient
Below are some of the more common reasons that individuals become impatient.
It is important to categorize these instances by timeframe. You can become impatient in the short-term, almost daily, by small situations that delay you and cause you to be annoyed or appear as a nuisance to you.
Alternatively, you can become impatient over longer periods of time as you become bored or tired of situations in your life and want to move onto the next chapter.
Short Term Reasons For Becoming Impatient
Individuals become impatient over short term reasons by waiting for:
- traffic to die down or for traffic lights to change
- the bus or public transit
- the mailman to deliver your package
- the microwave to finish or for dinner to be ready
- laundry to be finished
- a client who is late to a meeting
Long Term Reasons For Becoming Impatient
Individuals become impatient over long term reasons by waiting for:
- your significant other to propose to you
- a close friend to hold up their end of a bargain
- a promotion at work
- life to move on (such as finishing college or completing a major project)
- recognition or success for their effort
How To Be More Patient?
From time-to-time, we can all become a little impatient, often over simple situations that should not have as big of an impact on us as they do. Try to be more patient by utilizing one of the following six tips.
1. Write Down What Makes You Impatient And Limit These Situations In Your Life
As with anything in life, when you write something down, it becomes real. No longer is it just a thought in your head that might keep you up at night. Now the thought is on paper, and it becomes a real and actionable item.
A similar strategy can be used when dealing with situations that make you impatient.
Keep a small journal with you or use the notes application on your phone. Over the next week or month, write down everything that causes you to feel impatient. If you find yourself becoming impatient a lot, by the end of this exercise, you should have a sizeable list.
Now, see which instances came up the most and work to remove them or limit them from your life.
If you can recognize the scenarios in which you become impatient, you can limit the amount of times you put yourself in those situations.
Some scenarios are inevitable, and you won’t be able to remove them from your daily or weekly routines. However, with a bit of creativity, you will be surprised at how many situations you can remove or limit, that make you impatient.
For example, many people become extremely irritated and impatient while they are driving and become stuck in traffic. Especially when they struggle to focus on anything but the fact that they are stuck in traffic.
If this example describes you, try making sure you always have your favorite playlist playing while driving, or better yet, listen to an audiobook or podcast.
The latter two are more engaging and thought-provoking and will help to distract your brain from focusing solely on the traffic that you are stuck in.
If these solutions aren’t extreme enough for you, consider taking an alternate route with less traffic, or utilizing public transit, even if in the end it takes longer to get there.
Even though it amounts to a longer trip, you might find that because you are constantly moving instead of sitting still in traffic, your stress and agitation are reduced.
2. Be Grateful For All That You Have
You might become increasingly impatient as you are waiting or hoping for an event to happen in your life.
Examples could include frustration for not yet receiving a promotion at your job, or waiting for your significant other to propose to you. Or, you are ready to move onto the next stage of your life, but something is holding it up.
It is at times like these where you need to take a step back and approach the situation with gratitude. Instead of becoming impatient because you realize what is missing from your life, learn to be more patient by recognizing all that you have in your life.
As frustrated or aggravated as you might be about a situation, being able to recognize that there is always someone worse off than you will help you be more grateful for what you do have.
3. It Is Okay To Feel Uncomfortable While Being Impatient
Most people, and maybe yourself included, hate the feeling of being impatient. You might quickly rush to overcome or get yourself out of a situation when you being to lose your patience.
You are mean to feel uncomfortable while being impatient. If you can learn to be at ease with feeling a bit uncomfortable, you can better handle your impatience.
One way to be more patient is to understand and recognize that it is okay to feel uncomfortable while you are impatient. If you can learn to be okay with the feeling that impatience causes, you don’t always have to rush to change your situation.
One example that is shared amongst many individuals is when you are driving, and then you are abruptly stuck in traffic. A sudden feeling comes over your body, and you begin to feel aggravated or angered, or maybe even fidgety.
It might just be the fact that you are stuck in traffic and going nowhere that angers you or the thought that you might be late for whatever event it is that you are traveling to. Or maybe a combination of both.
However, when your car starts to move again, you instantly feel a sigh of relief as those feelings of aggravation and anger begin to disappear.
You may fail to realize that you are becoming worked up over a situation that you can do little about. If you are stuck in traffic, you are stuck in traffic. There is no quick way to get out of it or avoid it.
Instead of letting a situation affect you that is out of your control, learn to be okay with the situation and the uncomfortable feelings that come along with it.
4. Take Some Deep Breaths
Often your impatience leads to you becoming unnecessarily aggravated for a short period of time. Many times you can control your aggravation and be more patient by just breathing.
Stop and take a few deep breathes in and out. Realize what it is that is making you aggravated and why it is having such an effect on you.
Stop and breathe. Taking deep breaths is a great mechanism to calm yourself down when feeling impatient.
In many different scenarios in life, you can get back to your equilibrium by just starting to breathe. Allow the oxygen to fill up your lungs as you begin to calm yourself down and get your composure back.
5. Be Realistic With Your Goals And Deadlines
In regards to your long-term vision or goals, be realistic with the amount of time and effort it will take to achieve them. Now more than ever, technology has enabled individuals to have instant access to many things in life.
This is apparent with food arriving at your door within an hour of ordering it, the results to any questions you might have being answered in seconds by search engines, or instant validation by creating a post on social media.
However, throughout all these advancements and changes, the one thing that remains true is the amount of time and effort it takes to accomplish your goals.
Everything worth having takes time. Be realistic with what you are trying to achieve and the timeline you have given yourself to do so.
While the time it takes to complete other aspects of your life may have decreased, achieving your goals takes no less effort and no less time.
Be sure to be realistic with the goals and deadlines you give yourself. Don’t become impatient halfway through the journey because you have set yourself up with unrealistic expectations.
Things take time to grow, mature, and develop. Be more patient with your approach towards your goals. You will achieve what you set out to accomplish with consistent effort over an extended period.
6. Visualize The Worst-Case Scenario
While no one loves to be held up or delayed, many people are able to be more patient by visualizing what the worst-case scenario might look like.
You can apply this tip to all aspects of your life, whether it is your impatience as you are waiting for a bus that is a few minutes late or your impatience as you are waiting for a work-related promotion.
When you can visualize what the worst-case scenario is from the delay that you are facing, you can determine how it will affect your life and what you can do to mitigate it.
Being held up as you wait for a late bus to arrive might mean your worst-case scenario is showing up late to your morning meeting, or even missing it completely.
For starters, you can contact the individuals you are in the meeting with and let them know your bus is running a bit late. This way they aren’t waiting for you unaware of why you are late, but rather understand that the situation is out of your control.
Secondly, you can look at alternative options to help you mitigate the problem. It might mean walking to a different bus stop to catch a bus on an alternative route. Or maybe taking a taxi or uber if the morning meeting is one that is of great importance.
When you can visualize the worst-case scenario, it can help you be at ease with your impatience and help you mitigate that scenario to reduce the amount of time you are delayed or held up.
The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?
eightysixfourhundred, make them count