Patience is a complex set of virtues, including self-control, humility, generosity, tolerance, mercy, and it is an essential aspect of other areas like hope, faith, and love. Patience is a paradigm of the ancient notion of the unity of the virtues.
As we all know, the opposite of patience is impatience. It is defined as “irritability or restlessness.” Simply said, impatience can be viewed as a rejection of the present moment because we feel it should be replaced by something else. It simply is a rejection of the current reality.
HAVE WE FORGOTTEN
Patience is a forgotten virtue. A study of internet users recently found that about half of these users passed up videos that had not started to play within 10 seconds. Users with a faster connection were even faster to move away, which is a marker suggesting that technological progress erodes patience.
Sadly, waiting, even for a very short time, has become so unbearable that much of our economy is geared at eliminating “dead time.”
Patience plays a critical role in decision-making problems. For example, should we eat all the grain or plant it and wait for it to multiply? We can’t forget human beings evolved not as farmers but as hunter-gatherers and tended to discount the long-term rewards.
The Stanford Marshmallow experiment explored short-sightedness. One hundred school-aged children participated in a delayed gratification study, which involved a simple choice: Eat this marshmallow, or hold back for 15 minutes to be given a second marshmallow. After explaining the procedure, each child was left alone with the marshmallow for 15 minutes. A follow-up study was carried out for forty years and the small group of participants who held out for a second marshmallow had a significantly better life outcome. There was less substance abuse, higher test scores, better social skills in comparison to those participants who had to have a single marshmallow to ease the impatience.
Patience is much more than the ability to hold back for a future reward. Exercising patience can be compared to growing a garden. Waiting is involved, but you need a plan to achieve the final goal. Patience is a form of compassion. Turning people into friends and allies rather than alienating and disregarding them is critical and hard.
If impatience implies the inability to take effective action or helplessness, the power of understanding could be tied to patience. Patience removes frustration and allows us to have a clear perspective to do the right thing at the right time.
Exercising patience does not mean giving up; life is short, but it is never too short to be patient.
Patience is about trust and faith in the intent of what others are conveying. Patience is easier with exercise, and it can deliver much better outcomes, not just for ourselves but also for others. Isn’t that what the Four-Way Test teaches?