Nicki recently witnessed an example of how patience is a skill that not everyone possesses in abundance and it got her thinking about its importance in today’s hi-tech world.
As technology speeds up our lives, and much of what we desire is available at the click of a button, it can sometimes feel as if impatience dominates us when things take longer than we feel they should. In other words, in a world of almost instant gratification, have we lost the ability to wait for things to take their natural course and delay gratification? Have we become too used to getting immediate results?
It was a busy Saturday morning in a local supermarket carpark and a fellow shopper was trying unsuccessfully to find a parking space. The driver was slowly advancing whilst on the lookout for a space when she spotted a car with its reverse lights on so she sat and waited for the space to become available.
Sadly, the driver behind her didn’t share her patience and tried a somewhat dangerous overtaking manoeuvre in the confines of the car park which, if he’d stopped and thought about it, really wasn’t going to end well considering the space available. Inevitably, he was unsuccessful and had no choice but to wait behind the car trying to park. As he eventually drove past, I heard him shout out of his open window: ‘If you can’t drive, don’t drive!’ What a shame that he couldn’t just sit back and give the driver the time she needed to park; she looked rather harassed by the whole incident. Would saving an extra minute on his journey really have made that much difference to him in the scheme of things?
It occurred to me that maybe I could also do with an extra dollop of patience. I certainly could when it comes to dealing with my teenage children tidying their bedrooms (or not as the case may be)!
So what is patience and why is it so difficult for some people? A rather simplistic definition of patience is ’waiting without complaint’, or as American author Joyce Meyer puts it:
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”
It’s certainly worth the gain if we can wait for something and control our frustration. There’s something very powerful about taking the time when it’s required; of waiting, watching and knowing when to act. When we can stay calm, centred and not act rashly out of frustration, all areas of our lives will improve.
What do you think? Do you find instant gratification is becoming the norm? Or would you agree that patience really is a virtue?