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Practicing Patience in a World of Instant Gratification

We live in a world of instant gratification? Where has our patience gone?

“Patience is a virtue.” We’ve all heard this quote many times in our lives, but I feel like nowadays it has completely lost its meaning. Patience can be defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

We live in a world of instant gratification. If you want to purchase something but can’t wait to buy it, you go online, purchase it and have it shipped overnight to your front door. If you want to get in contact with someone you don’t just call him or her. You can call, text, Facebook message, email, tweet, Snapchat, etc. The list for communicating goes on and on.

Having access to whatever we want, whenever we want has changed us. People have become less patient in their daily lives than they were in life before the world of cellphones and Internet.

Before our time, people couldn’t find everything they needed at a grocery store. They had to go to a few places. They had to wait for snail mail. I think this taught our parents and grandparents how to be patient and appreciate the journey. Their generations have the foresight to see the bigger picture instead of what is only right in front of them.

Our generation is lost in technology so much that when we make plans we don’t think about the overall “life” plan. This is what our generation needs to learn and understand in order to be successful and have the lives we want. We need to understand that just cause we don’t have the perfect job now, own a nice house, or have the perfect spouse and partner doesn’t mean those things won’t come into our lives eventually.

We have to start treating each milestone as what it is, a stepping stone to our ultimate goals. Recently I started to get a little frustrated with my life because I am in the middle of graduate school and still stuck at my parent’s house, when all I want is to have a job and my own place. That is when I realized I need to have more patience towards my life.

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Here are three things we need to do to in order to learn how to be more patient:

  1. Slow down – In a world where everything feels like it never shuts off you need to realize that it is okay for you to “shut off.” Take a beat after a task or when you are standing in a slow line and realize that just because this isn’t happening now doesn’t mean it won’t happen. There is no reason for to lose your cool because the line is moving at a snails pace. Nothing is going to change if the line takes 5 minutes compared to 2 minutes.
  1. Find your triggers – Figure out what sets you off and makes you most impatient in your daily life. Once you can figure that out you can be aware of these triggers and how to move past them. You can’t avoid certain things but you can avoid reacting to them in the same way. There is always a reason for things. So learn that reason before you become impatient.
  1. Remember what matters – At the end of the day what really matters to you? For me it is that I am healthy, have a good support system and a roof over my head. If I break it down to those basic needs then there is nothing more important then that. I look back on something will I remember that the person in front of me at Starbucks took forever to decide their coffee order, probably not. Because what really matters is that I appreciate everything I have in my life.

Just because I am preaching to you about patience does not mean that I will always be patient, I am only human. It does mean that I will be more aware of how to handle my impatience in the future.

Take this challenge and next time you find yourself losing your patience remember this article and think about how you can improve this situation with the power of positive thinking. Cliché I know, but it works.

About the Author

Lauren Alexander

Lauren graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor's degree in communications and a minor in psychology. She enjoys spinning, crafting, and Saints football. She is currently getting her teaching credential with hope to inspire future generations.