Tag Archives: impatience

Impatience: “It drives me crazy to wait in long lines and deal with slow, incompetent people.”

"Soothing Sax" by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

Most everyone experiences impatience when waiting in long lines, listening to someone’s long, boring story, and enduring other frustrating situations. However, impatience is magnified in people who have developed a strong preference for doing at the expense of being. Such people can enjoy the moment when it is fascinating, fruitful, or fun-filled, but get frustrated easily otherwise.

Impatience is not bad in itself. In moderation, it indicates that your time could be better spent. But when impatience is excessive or when a situation is beyond our control, our frustration turns into an unnecessary waste of time and energy. While stimulating activities, achievement, and productivity are necessary as well as fulfilling in themselves, excessive impatience can indicate that action is emphasized to the detriment of being in the present.

Impatient people have a sense that if they’re not getting something done, whether working, buying groceries, reading a book, getting somewhere quickly, or enjoying an event, then they’re wasting their time or missing out on something.

Impatience not only doesn’t help the situation, it harms our state of mind, our relationships, and our health. Therefore, it is important and beneficial to find a balance between being goal oriented and being able to be at peace in an ordinary moment. Such balance allows us to experience and enjoy the moment even while waiting in a long line at the DMV.

Here are some alternative ways of enjoying the moment rather than silently cursing that deliberately-slow bureaucrat who’s holding up the line:

1. Take time to relax your body and your mind. Breathe slowly and deeply, relax your face and shoulders, and think pleasant thoughts.

2. Find humor in the situation. If you’re the mental type, then challenge yourself to describe the scene in a humorous way.

3. Find something interesting about the surroundings and the people around you, no matter how unappealing they may seem.

4. Strike up a conversation with someone in line. No-strings-attached banter with a complete stranger can be pleasant or at least intriguing in a socio-psychological way. Who knows — you might meet somebody interesting or hear an amazing story.

5. Do some planning on how to improve your life. Design an activity, dinner, or adventure that you would enjoy. Or think about how you can become a better person.

6. Mentally list all the things you are grateful for. Research shows that this simple process makes a person happier.

If the line is really long, you can do everything on the list and beyond, and gain that desired sense of achievement.

People are more enjoyable to be with when they are not frustrated, rushing about, and impatient. They can get just as much done, AND they are able to make the most of those unproductive moments, despite the pressure of time. We all enjoy being with people who balance action with serenity, because they don’t exude that unpleasant fidgety desire to get moving.

Too much patience is the support of weakness; too much impatience the ruin of strength.

~Charles Caleb Colton, paraphrased

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Road Rage: ‘That blankety-blank cut me off! I’ll show him!!’”

Read “Rushing: I’m only five minutes late and got so much done.’”

Road Rage: “That blankety-blank cut me off! I’ll show him!!”

"Formula Farley" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

What does the way you drive say about you?

Are you a considerate driver who’ll let another driver cut in if she’s in the wrong lane? Or are you an impatient driver who tails other cars, gets angry, and swears when people cut you off or drive too slowly? Your driving could say something about your own shadow, that is, the part of you that has not been developed.

Two types of people typically feel aggressive behind the wheel. The first is someone who has trouble with simply being, always feeling impatient to get something done. This type feels a lot of pressure to get where he or she is going and to accomplish goals set.

The second is someone who hasn’t developed much personal power. When your self-empowerment lies in the shadow, it erupts in aggressive, inappropriate, or unattractive ways. When you’re in a car, you feel anonymous, and can become more aggressive without being concerned about what someone you know might think.

What can you do if you are one of these kinds of driver?

If you have trouble relaxing when you’re not productive, work on simply relaxing into the moment. Breathe deeply, listen to music, or plan an event. Replace futile thoughts such as “Look at this horrible traffic; I’m so late!” with more productive or calming thoughts, such as, “There’s nothing I can do about this now. I might as well relax/call my sister/mentally reorganize my life-goals. In a year, I won’t even remember being late. So why waste time wallowing in anxiety?”

If you are type that feels powerless in most situations in life, find ways to develop self-empowerment in situations where you are not behind the wheel. Notice when you feel meek and compliant, or when you are repressing your opinions. Try to speak up and integrate personal power in a calm and moderate way. If you develop more personal authority in your everyday face-to-face interaction with people, maybe you won’t feed the inner aggression that is waiting to explode when you get behind the wheel.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Watch “Expressing your Anger Effectively.”