..It might not matter to you whether patience is a virtue..but it does have its pay-offs. Image courtesy of keattikorn at freedigitalphotos.net
Patience is a virtue that I’ve never seemed lucky enough to possess…However, there seems to come a stage in your life where it becomes necessary to foster this skill: After all, most worthwhile endeavours do require hard-work, an ability to resist temptation – at least to a degree; as well as careful planning.
Our society almost nurtures an ‘instant gratification’ schemata, with credit cards and loans carelessly dispensed by money-hungry ‘sharks’ and banks. The ‘fast-food era’ has become our answer to rumbly tummies - or bad days, where we lack the patience to plan healthier options or go for a jog to alleviate our blues, instead. Addictions such as smoking or using ‘pokie’ machines take full advantage of the need to feel good – now.
Computers have facilitated faster banking, communication, entertainment – we don’t have to travel as much, or write a letter. There are positive aspects to this, obviously - we save time, for example, but there are drawbacks I’ll mention later.
My mother told me something interesting.
Apparently, during her university days, they had to actively research via a filing system – yes, walk up and down the stairs searching for books! Lectures, were spoken and a paucity of handouts; students had to literally write essays. I remember feeling almost taken back – I conceived of this as being impossible to manage! When I attended, lectures were on powerpoint, and research articles, online, not necessitating nearly as much patience.
I know at “Coles” I am impatient to line in a queue sometimes. I turn instead to the “check-out chick computers” who wish me well (!) and guide me through the groceries efficiently.
However, when I look at the ‘instant rewards’ harvested by this need for ‘instant gratification’ or just the need to move fast– they almost inevitably seem to be short-term. Quick money-in-hand yields long-term debt; satisfaction through eating junk food rewards us long-term with little more than health and weight problems. I sometimes wonder if online social media such as ‘facebook’ make us a little impatient and less ept, with personal interaction.
The problems inherent with addiction as ‘quick-fixes’ to feel good instead of say, going to a gym or exercise class our well known. We may lose the skill of budgeting, resisting temptation for our long-term health, self-discipline and personal social-interaction skills.
So, the first clue to perhaps developing more patience in our society, laden with temptations, technology, and machines is to recognise that these fast-term convenient solutions, though facilitating our navigation of many important aspects of our lives, long-term may not serve us well.
How can one develop these skills especially in circumstances where it is not absolute necessary?
I think it is important for each individual to first assess whether any “need it now” behaviours are actually affecting them negatively. Realistically, we each have our luxuries and indulgences, communication in real-life is usually faster in certain ways and we may have a healthy balance nonetheless.
That is, is smoking or other addiction actually causing health problems? Is fast-food causing health problems? Do you have personal interactions to counter the impersonal ones?
So firstly, In terms of addictive behaviours, if we have patience to exercise and eat well in an effort to feel good in lieu of say smoking, or eating junk food, we reap the benefits of long-term health, and more money, or more of whatever our gratifying behaviour cost us.
Secondly, we can be motivated to be patient when we think of the higher confidence, self-esteem and morale we are rewarded with by proving to ourselves we can wait. Just by telling yourself “I had the patience to work for that” almost inevitably results in us holding our head up high. If we’ve done it once, we can do it again. Likewise if we think “I’ve never had willpower, and I can’t wait”, it can’t do too much for how you feel about yourself.
Thirdly, remembering we reap what we sow can inspire us to patience. Saving money instead of a long-term loss through a credit card; being healthier and slim are long-term benefits, getting outside instead of performing all our functions on a computer is often rewarded by more personally satisfying interactions, and a greater range of interests.
In conclusion, telling yourself “patience is a virtue” may seem like a meaningless banal platitude. However, if you say “patience may save me money, enrich my social life and make me healthier with greater self-confidence”, I feel, anyway is more alluring.