The Power of Patience in a Pandemic Pause

I admit it: I am a jack rabbit. I like to hop to it and get things done. Give me a project and I'll start immediately just so I can get it off of my to do list. The problem is, sometimes in my haste, I make mistakes. I admit that I have no tolerance for voicemail doom loops. I have been known to bang a phone against the desk and scream, "give me a real person!" (It doesn't work.)

So now, in the social-distance and isolation, my ability to get things done quickly seems to have taken a second seat. While remaining plenty busy, there’s a different pace. I don’t jump up to go to the post office, rush to a meeting, or schedule a luncheon. Yet, I hear other folks becoming impatient, tapping their feet and insisting that we move back to “normal” (whatever that is), quickly.

Here is a startling discovery: impatient people are prone to obesity, according to a study at the University of Munich in Germany and the University of Michigan at Dearborn. Impatient types are also shown to have a high risk for hypertension later in life. To add insult to injury, psychologists at the University of Bonn in Germany discovered that with a simple test of patience, those who put off doing something seemed to have higher IQs than the get-it-done-now group. Oh brother, I'm in trouble. In fact experts have described this kind of behavior as time-urgency impatience, or TUI.

So, is this a behavioral flaw? A personality trait? Answer: it's not a flaw—but it is a behavior that has no genetic bearing. It can be altered.

Explore why waiting makes you uncomfortable.

Sometimes it is our ego that demands everything happen right away. Impatience comes from living in a 24/7 chaotic world. And it is caused by trying to control things over which we have little control.

Manage expectations.

What can you reasonably expect? Remember that my needs are not the most important needs in the universe.

Go with the flow.

While this sounds like something from the marijuana smoke filled days of the 60s, it is also quite true. Learning to let go, and to stay in the present moment, can be helped through deep breathing and even reciting a phrase over and over again much like a mantra. (Even though sometimes that phrase is "I'm going to kill that voicemail.")

Remember to laugh.

Friends send me plenty of funny memes and You Tube videos. And some of those videos speak of patience. Like this one:

As we sit in this season of spring, I'm reminded that flowers forced to bloom before their time die faster. So I'm working on changing my time-urgency impatience (TUI) into PUI patience-ups intelligence . . . though I don’t think feeding chickens will get into my list.

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