You are always on the slowest-moving lane in the traffic jam.

The queue in the grocery store never flows as fast as it should.

Idle bums always come in your way on the pavement.

Why do those morons play with the ATM like it’s a tetris game?

Can people also speak in 2x speed in real life?

Has life become too slow recently or have we lost our ability to tolerate? How can we explain this impatience that’s keeping us uncomfortable all the time?

Why did we give up on our patience and what did we get in return?

The Age Of Impatience

We are always in a hurry or catching up with something. It strongly permeated and became a root element in our lifestyle like a carved stone. And what’s worse, we don’t even want to talk about it because we are not at peace with it.

If somebody makes it a topic of conversation, that immediately pushes our buttons and messes with our temper.

Modern technology gave us speed as a gift. 

It takes milliseconds to reach whatever we wish now. We only used to hear it on formula races, or sports events but now these tiny time terms became integrated into our lives.

We inevitably rearranged our expectations according to this fast lane lifestyle.

When you need something, you click a button on an application and it can bring hundreds of products to your door in minutes.

What’s the result of having this luxury?

Even the idea of shopping sounds like torture now. Get up, put your clothes on, make your way to the supermarket, walk around the sections, stand on the line, put the items in a bag, hand over some cash or credit card to the cashier, enter your card password, etc.

God damn, life is too short to spend time on these!

This mentality spreads all over our life totally revolutionizes what we expect from it. The opportunities of technology severely decrease our patience threshold. That’s why there’s a huge difference between Z and other generations.

If you are born into this internet madness, you can’t act patiently like your elders who lived in older times.

There has always been certain conflicts between generations. You can clearly see that the former ones always criticized the upcoming generations even tough the new ones made great achievements at the end.

The internet unprecedently changed the game of life. Its effect on our lives is nothing like TV, radio, or newspaper.

It’s not too hard to imagine a world without newspapers, right? But it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without the internet because it’s in every part of our lives just like air right now.

People can choose to sit in a cafe that doesn’t serve water, but everybody will demand a fast wi-fi connection.

The internet is the major reason behind the decrease in our patience threshold

Our estimation of how quickly we should achieve our goals has also drastically decreased.

Everybody starts to believe in achieving life-changing success will come to them right after consuming some short readings or videos.

  • 3 steps to get …
  • 5 ways to have…
  • Watch this and you will achieve …
  • 5 Minutes to revolutionize…

Our minds got used to these kinds of get-it-quick content, so it reframed what we think about our goals.

It’s not possible to make 5 year life plan when your brain is trained with 60 seconds videos that are promising to make huge changes in your life.

That’s why we are trapped in short timeframes.

5 year sounds like an eternity but it comes in the blink of an eye. What did this lead to? Impatience, of course.

This is like a chicken and egg situation. We created technology because we were impatient, now it made us more impatient. We want to grow up, find a job, get married, achieve great work straight away.

All impatient people want everything in life quickly, but they are ignorant of an upcoming danger.

It’s doom to have something ahead of time.

When you look at the motorcycle couriers, they always drive in a panic mode whether they’re actually delivering something or not. Why? It’s because of professional degeneration. They are so used to drive in a hurry and it became part of their driving routine.

Our daily life rush also penetrated into our character.

You can’t just leave the emotional baggage of your job at the office like a document paper. Technology has already broken the barrier between work and daily life.

Today you can play online games in your office or work from your home. Most people can have business calls on 7/24, it does not matter if they sleep, eat, or have a vacation.

We can’t simply leave all the stress at the office, that’s why we carry the load all the time on our shoulders. Our brains can’t be discharged and our bodies can’t be rejuvenated.

Who can tolerate waiting for anything in this situation?  The verb “to wait” will be completely vanished after one or two generations.

What makes us more patient?

What makes someone powerful enough to be patient about anything? Where does the strength of patience stem from?

Patience is a virtue that’s begun to be forgotten. Yes, it’s a virtue, that means it has to be desired by every person. Why are we impatient and we don’t even care about it then?

Because patience asks for the most important asset from us, our time. Besides its irreplaceable, irreversible, and relative features; time is the only asset we can’t save and accumulate.

You can save up money as long as you don’t spend it. However, you either make use of your time or let it fly by. It’s like lots of money pouring from the sky. You open your hands as much as you can, and they sweep what’s left on the floor immediately.

We don’t even know how much time we have.

If you knew that you’d be dead 5 minutes from now, would you be reading this article? Or would I write this article at all? No, of course.

That means time also prioritizes our actions.

Since we don’t know pretty much anything, we try hard making it better as much as we can. We want the better of anything, but what’s better? The word “better” is also relative.

What makes what we have right now worse, so we want something better? This uncertainty and limited knowledge result in chronic impatience. In this panic mode, we overlook what’s important for us.

In fact, we have great aphorisms about the issue, for instance, “all things come to those who wait”. Of course, patience is not all about waiting. Only chickens achieve success solely by sitting.

You can wait sitting on a chair all day long but if there’s no action, there won’t be any result. Then, we should not confuse waiting and tolerance. Patience is an active state while we are dealing with a certain process.

It’s our attitude towards challenging events. If patience is not supported by actions, it becomes a waste of time.

We can’t protect our focus under the influence of constant worry. We always chop and change and never be persistent in our goals. In the end, we waste our time and energy through various half-ass jobs.

Whenas patience brings in the ultimate leverage effect in terms of reaping the rewards of our efforts.

That’s why all meditation practices being present in the moment by increasing your awareness of your body and breathing.

There’s a huge difference between reflexive and intentional breathing.

You can try it out right now. Just stop reading this and calmly breathe in and out deeply 10 times. If you have done it for the first time, you will realize that you weren’t even aware of your breathing before.

Our lives are on autopilot anymore. Breathing is the first healthy way of taking control of your own life. Rather than trying to force everything into our fast pace, maybe we can learn to synchronize with nature.

It’s certainly better than hitting everywhere and causing a lot of damage. The outside world is mostly out of our control. Constant worry, panic, and concerns create a vicious cycle that drains our life energy.

So why do we insist on being impatient?

The Advantages of Impatience

The impatience can change nothing and it certainly delivers no results at all.

The stress, worry, or rush will never make the process faster but it will only damage our mental health.

Everything in life demands a certain time to happen. You only ruin your meal when you increase the heat to cook it quickly.

If we don’t give enough time to see the results, it doesn’t happen as it needs to be. Contrarily, we lose what we have already.

You must be familiar with the common scene about the plane landing. As soon as the wheels touch the ground, people immediately rush to get out of the plane.

It will take at least 5 minutes before the actual leaving becomes available because of the obligatory procedures and everybody knows that.

Imagine if passengers waited patiently and left the airplane one row at a time. Sounds like a pipe dream, right? 

Why do you have to stand up and carry your baggage in a cramped position?

The same people leave sports matches earlier, so they don’t wait in the auto park. What are we trying to catch up on? There’s no logical answer for that most of the time.

We don’t even think about it, maybe we forgot the reason, but we certainly can’t give up on that.

The technology made the difference

When there’s a lot of options waiting for us, we just don’t want to miss anything at all.  Whenever we wait, it feels like we are missing out a lot.

We can read all the books, consume all the content, watch all the series and movies, learn a new skill from all kinds of courses. It sounds great on paper but we are doomed by it.

This crazy jungle of availability increases the rate of worry, fear, and anxiety. Why? Because when you choose something, you give up on something else.

Here’s a movie, let’s watch it!

But wait, what’s its IMDB rating? What do the comments say about that movie? Have you researched enough to decide spending 2 hours of your life? You know that we have billions of other options.

I consider myself lucky because I know the era before the internet.

I know how it feels like to:

  • Send a letter to a friend and excitingly waiting for a return.
  • Wait for your favorite cartoon showing up on TV.
  • Promise your friends for the next game because there were no cell phones.
  • Wait for your favorite song plays on the radio.

Can my patience threshold be the same with a smartphone generation member kid? This era even degenerated my patience but these kids are born into this madness.

We don’t even bother to read to get the knowledge anymore because it’s too demanding to sit down and concentrate on a book. That’s not surprising because we are going to the stage where we use chips to suck up knowledge into our brains just like in Matrix.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink looks to implant chips into the human brain. He unveiled a pig called Gertrude with a coin-sized computer chip in her brain to demonstrate his ambitious plans to create a working brain-to-machine interface.

Who knows, maybe we will be able to download knowledge into our brain in the near future.

Even right now, we are having a lot of trouble to make an effort to learn anything. I can’t even imagine what’s going to happen if we have the luxury to learn a new language, karate, or driving by using a chip.

We already started to ignore books, but we don’t even watch videos if it takes more than 3 seconds to open. Maybe the video is highly important and it’s going to change your life but if it takes 5 seconds to load, 50% of the people will close it down.

Amazon declared that one second delay in the page openings causes 1.6 billion dollars in sales because customers click somewhere else immediately.

Everybody wants to rule the time

Our desire to rule time has distorted our biological clock.

We conquered the night through inventing candles, oil lamps, and lastly electricity.

Back then, we used to do all the daily work only in daylight. After the sun is set, it was time to rest. Since there’s too much availability in time right now, we feel obliged to do more and more.

We don’t care about the natural rhythm like it must obey our rules.

However, our impatience can’t solve anything. The babies still need 9 months to be born, the bank officers still do their job at the same speed, the omelet demands the same amount of time to be cooked well.

You can gear up as much as you like but the machine still has its limited capacity.

Every new generation has a higher rate of speech than before. We have genetically modified foods because who’s going to wait that long?

Yeah, maybe the shape of tomatoes or potatoes looks like the original but they never taste the same if the required time is not given.

Life is the same. You can chase goals impatiently but they will never taste great if you achieve them ahead of time. Okay, we lose a lot when we become impatient but what’s the reward of patience then?

It’s not a coincidence that we are filled up with peace when we visit a village. Human nature is not separate from nature, they are at the same wavelength in default.

We feel immense peace because everything is at its own speed and nobody is in a hurry. Animals don’t rush, trees don’t worry about growing faster, tides don’t speed up for no reason.

This beautiful rhythm whispers in our ear as “Everything is alright.” and we love it.

How can we be patient?

We are all bothered by how impatient we are, and we all would love to fix it as well but we don’t know how.

This is like getting rid of an addiction.

You know, someone criticizes you like “Hey, you are eating too much dessert. That’s bad!” and you immediately defense up with anger as “So what? Can’t I enjoy some sweet? I already eat once in a while. You are smoking and drinking too much vine, do I say anything to you?”.

Lots of verbal attacks and ad hominem take over the place. The patience issue is pretty much the same. We don’t want it to be the main theme of our conversations.

There’s one solid reason for why we are not patient,

Uncertainty

We must know and be certain about it.

That’s the only way to alleviate our hurry.

For example, a flashing red light is not enough in traffic, we also need to know how many seconds left before it turns into green. We need to know how long will it take to achieve something, then we can be patient about it.

If your days are numbered in prison, it will pass quickly. However, if you don’t know when you will be out, every second feels like a year.

The easiest way to increase patience is to decrease uncertainty. So it is a must to make your goals clear and well defined. For example, being rich is not a goal because it’s an ambiguous, subjective, and abstract concept.

Get rid of the fog clouds as much as possible to reach a certain level of patience.

Most new graduates tear themselves up if they can’t find a fulfilling job immediately right after their college education. The capitalist world strictly relates success with material richness, if you don’t have it, you are labeled as a failure.

This is the game they offer to you but you do not have to play it. Like everything in life, every person has their time to shine. The race, catching up with others, competitiveness always lead to misery.

Peter And The Golden Thread

Once there was a widow who had a son called Peter. He was a strong, able boy, but he did not enjoy going to school and he was forever daydreaming.

“Peter, what are you dreaming about this time?” his teacher would say to him.

“I’m thinking about what I’ll be when I grow up,” Peter replied.

“Be patient. There’s plenty of time for that. Being grown up isn’t all fun, you know,” his teacher said.

But Peter found it hard to enjoy whatever he was doing at the moment, and was always hankering after the next thing. In winter he longed for it to be summer again, and in summer he looked forward to the skating, sledging, and warm fires of winter. At school, he would long for the day to be over so that he could go home, and on Sunday nights he would sigh, “If only the holidays would come.” What he enjoyed most was playing with his friend Liese. She was as good a companion as any boy, and no matter how impatient Peter was, she never took offense. “When I grow up, I shall marry Liese,” Peter said to himself.

Often he wandered through the forest, dreaming of the future. Sometimes he lay down on the soft forest floor in the warm sun, his hands behind his head, staring up at the sky through the distant treetops. One hot afternoon as he began to grow sleepy, he heard someone calling his name. He opened his eyes and sat up. Standing before him was an old woman. In her hand, she held a silver ball, from which dangled a silken golden thread.

“See what I have got here, Peter,” she said, offering the ball to him.

“What is it?” he asked curiously, touching the fine golden thread.

“This is your life thread,” the old woman replied. “Do not touch it and time will pass normally. But if you wish time to pass more quickly, you have only to pull the thread a little way and an hour will pass like a second. But I warn you, once the thread has been pulled out, it cannot be pushed back in again. It will disappear like a puff of smoke. The ball is for you. But if you accept my gift you must tell no one, or on that very day you shall die. Now, say, do you want it?”

Peter seized the gift from her joyfully. It was just what he wanted. He examined the silver ball. It was light and solid, made of a single piece. The only flaw in it was the tiny hole from which the bright thread hung. He put the ball in his pocket and ran home. There, making sure that his mother was out, he examined it again. The thread seemed to be creeping very slowly out of the ball, so slowly that it was scarcely noticeable to the naked eye. He longed to give it a quick tug but dared not do so. Not yet.

The following day at school, Peter sat daydreaming about what he would do with his magic thread. The teacher scolded him for not concentrating on his work. If only, he thought, it was time to go home. Then he felt the silver ball in his pocket. If he pulled out a tiny bit of thread, the day would be over. Very carefully he took hold of it and tugged. Suddenly the teacher was telling everyone to pack up their books and to leave the classroom in an orderly fashion. Peter was overjoyed. He ran all the way home. How easy life would be now! All his troubles were over. From that day forth he began to pull the thread, just a little, every day.

One day, however, it occurred to him that it was stupid to pull the thread just a little each day. If he gave it a harder tug, the school would be over altogether. Then he could start learning a trade and marry Liese. So that night he gave the thread a hard tug, and in the morning he awoke to find himself apprenticed to a carpenter in town. He loved his new life, clambering about on roofs and scaffolding, lifting and hammering great beams into a place that still smelled of the forest. But sometimes, when payday seemed too far off, he gave the thread a little tug, and suddenly the week was drawing to a close and it was Friday night and he had money in his pocket.

Liese had also come to town and was living with her aunt, who taught her housekeeping. Peter began to grow impatient for the day when they would be married. It was hard to live so near and yet so far from her. He asked her when they could be married.

“In another year,” she said. “Then I will have learned how to be a capable wife.”

Peter fingered the silver ball in his pocket.

“Well, the time will pass quickly enough,” he said, knowingly.

That night Peter could not sleep. He tossed and turned restlessly. He took the magic ball from under his pillow. For a moment he hesitated; then his impatience got the better of him, and he tugged at the golden thread. In the morning he awoke to find that the year was over and that Liese had, at last, agreed to marry him. Now Peter felt truly happy.

But before their wedding could take place, Peter received an official-looking letter. He opened it in trepidation and read that he was expected to report at the army barracks the following week for two years’ military service. He showed the letter to Liese in despair.

“Well,” she said, “there is nothing for it, we shall just have to wait. But the time will pass quickly, you’ll see. There are so many things to do in preparation for our life together.”

Peter smiled bravely, knowing that two years would seem a lifetime to him.

Once Peter had settled into life at the barracks, however, he began to feel that it wasn’t so bad after all. He quite enjoyed being with all the other young men, and their duties were not very arduous at first. He remembered the old woman’s warning to use the thread wisely and for a while refrained from pulling it. But in time he grew restless again. Army life bored him with its routine duties and harsh discipline. He began pulling the thread to make the week go faster so that it would be Sunday again, or to speed up the time until he was due for leave. And so the two years passed almost as if they had been a dream.

Back home, Peter determined not to pull the thread again until it was absolutely necessary. After all, this was the best time of his life, as everyone told him. He did not want it to be over too quickly. He did, however, give the thread one or two very small tugs, just to speed along the day of his marriage. He longed to tell Liese his secret, but he knew that if he did he would die.

On the day of his wedding, everyone, including Peter, was happy. He could hardly wait to show Liese the house he had built for her. At the wedding feast he glanced over at his mother. He noticed for the first time how gray her hair had grown recently. She seemed to be aging so quickly. Peter felt a pang of guilt that he had pulled the thread so often. Henceforward he would be much more sparing with it and only use it when it was strictly necessary.

A few months later Liese announced that she was going to have a child. Peter was overjoyed and could hardly wait. When the child was born, he felt that he could never want for anything again. But whenever the child was ill or cried through the sleepless night, he gave the thread a little tug, just so that the baby might be well and happy again.

Times were hard. Business was bad and a government had come to power that squeezed the people dry with taxes and would tolerate no opposition. Anyone who became known as a troublemaker was thrown into prison without trial and rumor was enough to condemn a man. Peter had always been known as one who spoke his mind, and very soon he was arrested and cast into jail. Luckily he had his magic ball with him and he tugged very hard at the thread. The prison walls dissolved before him and his enemies were scattered in the huge explosion that burst forth like thunder. It was the war that had been threatening, but it was over as quickly as a summer storm, leaving behind it an exhausted peace. Peter found himself back home with his family. But now he was a middle-aged man.

For a time things went well and Peter lived in relative contentment. One day he looked at his magic ball and saw to his surprise that the thread had turned from gold to silver. He looked in the mirror. His hair was starting to turn gray and his face was lined where before there had not been a wrinkle to be seen. He suddenly felt afraid and determined to use the thread even more carefully than before. Liese bore him more children and he seemed happy as the head of his growing household. His stately manner often made people think of him as some sort of benevolent ruler. He had an air of authority as if he held the fate of others in his hands. He kept his magic ball in a well-hidden place, safe from the curious eyes of his children, knowing that if anyone were to discover it, it would be fatal.

As the number of his children grew, so his house became more overcrowded. He would have to extend it, but for that he needed money. He had other worries too. His mother was looking older and more tired every day. It was of no use to pull the magic thread because that would only hasten her approaching death. All too soon she died, and as Peter stood at her graveside, he wondered how it was that life passed so quickly, even without pulling the magic thread.

One night as he lay in bed, kept awake by his worries, he thought how much easier life would be if all his children were grown up and launched upon their careers in life. He gave the thread a mighty tug, and the following day he awoke to find that his children had all left home for jobs in different parts of the country, and that he and his wife were alone. His hair was almost white now and often his back and limbs ached as he climbed the ladder or lifted a heavy beam into place. Liese too was getting old and she was often ill. He couldn’t bear to see her suffer, so that more and more he resorted to pulling at the magic thread. But as soon as one trouble was solved, another seemed to grow in its place. Perhaps life would be easier if he retired, Peter thought. Then he would no longer have to clamber about on drafty, half-completed buildings and he could look after Liese when she was ill. The trouble was that he didn’t have enough money to live on. He picked up his magic ball and looked at it. To his dismay, he saw that the thread was no longer silver but gray and lusterless. He decided to go for a walk in the forest to think things over.

It was a long time since he had been in that part of the forest. The small saplings had all grown into tall fir trees, and it was hard to find the path he had once known. Eventually, he came to a bench in a clearing. He sat down to rest and fell into a light doze. He was woken by someone calling his name, “Peter! Peter!”

He looked up and saw the old woman he had met so many years ago when she had given him the magic silver ball with its golden thread. She looked just as she had on that day, not a day older. She smiled at him.

“So, Peter, have you had a good life?” she asked.

“I’m not sure,” Peter said. “Your magic ball is a wonderful thing. I have never had to suffer or wait for anything in my life. And yet it has all passed so quickly. I feel that I have had no time to take in what has happened to me, neither the good things nor the bad. Now there is so little time left. I dare not pull the thread again for it will only bring me to my death. I do not think your gift has brought me luck.”

“How ungrateful you are!” the old woman said. “In what way would you have wished things to be different?”

“Perhaps if you had given me a different ball, one where I could have pushed the thread back in as well as pulling it out. Then I could have relived the things that went badly.”

The old woman laughed. “You ask a great deal! Do you think that God allows us to live our lives twice over? But I can grant you one final wish, you foolish, demanding man.”

“What is that?” Peter asked.

“Choose,” the old woman said. Peter thought hard.

At length, he said, “I should like to live my life again as if for the first time, but without your magic ball. Then I will experience the bad things as well as the good without cutting them short, and at least my life will not pass as swiftly and meaninglessly as a daydream.”

“So be it,” said the old woman. “Give me back my ball.”

She stretched out her hand and Peter placed the silver ball in it. Then he sat back and closed his eyes with exhaustion.

When he awoke he was in his own bed. His youthful mother was bending over him, shaking him gently.

“Wake up, Peter. You will be late for school. You were sleeping like the dead!”

He looked up at her in surprise and relief.

“I’ve had a terrible dream, Mother. I dreamed that I was old and sick and that my life had passed like the blinking of an eye with nothing to show for it. Not even any memories.”

His mother laughed and shook her head.

“That will never happen,” she said. “Memories are the one thing we all have, even when we are old. Now hurry and get dressed. Liese is waiting for you and you will be late for school.”

As Peter walked to school with Liese, he noticed what a bright summer morning it was, the kind of morning when it felt good to be alive. Soon he would see his friends and classmates, and even the prospect of lessons didn’t seem so bad. In fact, he could hardly wait.

– Anonymous

Excerpted from The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett.

“Gather ye Rose-buds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles today, To Morrow will be dying.” -Robert Herrick

No period or moment in our life is for nothing. If you have the right way to look at it, every experience has a meaning.

The problem of this era, we are always bombarded with something distracting every single second.

Our lives are not as plain as it used to be.

The principle of 10,000 hours rule claims that 10 thousand hours of deliberate practice is needed to become world-class in any field.

You can be a great pianist if you practice it for 3 hours a day for about 10 years. There are people who started playing it at the age of 40 and became one of the best in the world.

The equation is simple: deliberate practice + time = result.

It’s not about the equation, it’s all about the attitude.

Who can promise such dedication?

10 years of work every single day on a specific skill? While we have the option to choose billions of other things, especially in this technology era.

Can I really dedicate 3 hours of piano practice instead of binge-watching YouTube videos, going to concerts, cinemas, watching series, playing video games, chatting with friends on the phone, texting with a lover?

That is the question.

Who can be consistent enough to persevere against all odds? It’s not possible for people who have the attention span of a goldfish.

Maybe it’s heartbreaking and painful but what you seek will not come to you until you learn how to be patient. Life is short and death is certain. With the curse of knowing this, human beings wanted to live more and more in a short life span.

The desire to live fast led to the feeling of missing out. There is no fast or slow pace in nature, the lifecycle is all there is.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Patience is about appreciating the delicate balance of nature and pacing yourself according to it. In a world where you try to catch everything, you only make sure to end up with nothing.

So, what are you going to do?

The essential need of the 21st century is the ability to choose. Even if you read 10 hours a day, you can’t finish all the published books in a year.

We all need healthy filtration to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Impatience is inevitable with an urge to watch all the movies in the market. If you can know which movies are great or awful, the worry will vanish because you only watch great movies and never bother to care about the rest.

This method is applicable in pretty much anything such as choosing our books, clothes, food, etc. When you have a culture that has been precariously developed in time, your prioritization will be synchronized with your values.

They can offer you 100 plates of different food, but that would be alright because you can easily choose the best 3 plates and ditch the 97 of the rest. This is the reward of having a healthy food culture.

Being a human requires limitedness by definition. We can’t know and try it all but we can choose what we need amongst all. Being in the pursuit of all questions is an inefficient struggle when the shortness of human life is taken into consideration.

Find out what you need, be definite, ditch what doesn’t serve you and you will find patience with ease.