Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Nature of Impatience

To the impatient,
    If you are like me, being told to "be more patient" is not really helpful. In fact, it's pointless and counterproductive. Why? Because it doesn't tell you anything about how to do so. Allow me to rectify to situation and explain what I have realized to be the causes of impatience and the keys to dealing with it. As some wise man said a long time ago, "Knowledge is the key to victory."
    I did a Google and Bing search on the word "impatient," and they define it as "having or showing a tendency to be quickly irritated or provoked." I will actually disagree with this as it inaccurately covers it. After all, it can be a single occasion where you are impatient, meaning it's not necessarily a tendency. What the definition did get right is that it is provoked, and that is what we will deal with today.
    Something I figured out a while back is the level of impatience a man will have will correspond to how important he feels his time is at that moment. Hence, a man who feels like he can go faster will be upset being behind a car that is going the speed limit. The next thing I discovered is that it also arises when feeling wronged. And so the man driving the speed limit will grow impatient at the man behind him who is honking because he is going the speed limit. Therefore, I suggest the two root causes of impatience are the perception of wasted time and feeling wronged.
    I pondered whether or not wasted opportunity would be a cause, however, that could actually be either "waste of time," "feeling wronged," or both. If you missed a green traffic light, you would be upset possibly because you have to sit and wait for a few extra moments when you are in a hurry or your effort was wasted and so you feel wronged, even more so if you missed a light because you stopped at the previous one or allowed someone to cut in front of you.
    So what are the keys to dealing with this? How do you become more "patient"? In this case, the root of patience is a combination of three things: Humility, Love, and Acceptance. Is it a coincidence that a good mother has these things in abundance? The same internet searches for "Humility" return the definition of "a modest or low view of one's own importance; humbleness." I will agree with this definition as it complements the point I made earlier about impatience linked with importance. If one does not view himself as too important, then it's easier for him to be patient.
    Likewise, the true definition of love (which Google completely misses but which Disney's Frozen hits spot on) is "putting someone else's needs before yours" or as I have said before, "to will the good of another, even at your own expense." This is why the greatest act is said to be "to lay down your life for a friend." Note that this is very different than the romantic notion of love which instead seeks your own pleasure. Seriously, who thinks that they want to date solely to make someone else happy? There is far more love from the people who refuse to date out of respect for someone else (and therefore refrain from cheating or adultery). This also explains the link between love and humility as it is far harder to love someone else when you consider yourself more important. The more humble you are, the easier it is to love everyone, including the poor and your enemies.
     The last key is acceptance. Something happened, and you can't change that. The only thing you can do is try to avoid it in the future. As a society, we focus too much on what we can do that we try so hard to control everything, including our sex and genetics. The problem about this thirst for power is that it can never be satisfied. We need to learn that there are some things beyond our control, and it's better that we never try to overcome it. If you learn to grow in these three things, then your patience shall increase.

    For my last point, I will argue that there are certainly some cases where it is okay to be "impatient." If you are able to do it respectfully, it is in your control, and all other methods have failed to convey the true urgency of the situation (one that is not selfish such as preventing a murder), then you may have a right and obligation to be upset with someone. However, if it is a case of oversleeping and running late for a meeting, that is not an acceptable excuse for being rude and driving poorly.

With love,

N. D. Moharo

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