Vai Daily Open Bar column: Recapturing our lost patience
Processes move with astonishing speed, faster than our past selves could ever have imagined. Yet our present selves, accustomed to the pace, perceive the ATM or the document review or the dinner service or the courtship as unconscionably slow. In an accelerated world of almost impossible expectations, the slightest delay has us turning to our screens, anxious to fill the void with literally anything. On an individual and collective level, patience is a virtue as lost as the art of human connection. We must regain the power to be patient.
A dearth of patience is the catalyst for a disturbing amount of lawsuits. Instead of taking the time to wade through the messy business of actually figuring out problems, it is far easier, in some people’s eyes, to outsource the troubling bits to attorneys. Or, not possessing the resolve to prevent inner thoughts from becoming public in the heat of the moment, the impatient trigger a legion of problems. The irony is that surviving the world into which these antsy folks have plunged themselves requires a reserve of patience usually reserved for those following a spiritual calling.
The best piece of advice that I can give to try to prevent this outcome is simple: Take time to think before you act. If you believe you need 10 seconds, then take 10 minutes. If you feel like you need a day, then take a week. In certain circumstances, this might be impossible and inflexible deadlines await you. Fine, those are important, too. But remember that you create your own destiny and that most time limits are arbitrary. Do not fall victim to the unreasonable demands of an inflexible society: Be your own person.
Patience is a virtue
But, that person is flawed, as we all are. It is not possible to be patient with others if we are not patient with ourselves. Nurtured or innate, we have the tendency to put pressure on ourselves to achieve goals that are unrealistic. Then, improvidently, we are troubled when we do not meet them. Worse still, we might somehow manage to meet one of those insane objectives and then further skew our self-image.
It is great to be motivated, but terrible if this turns into rampant ambition or figurative self-annihilation. The impact on those around us is immeasurable, but rarely in a positive way. If we are short with ourselves, then we are snippy with our loved ones. If we cannot stand a minute’s delay in our own self-imposed agenda, then we are going to become one of those lunatics that lash out at cashiers.
Life unfolds in a mysterious manner that we cannot control. Sometimes, we need to wait a bit to see how the plot twists unfurl. Or we need to take a step back from the situation and reevaluate instead of plunging ahead on our first instinct. Existence is a sometimes-tedious process, and we need to accept that. Not trying to wring every second out of every day or every dollar out of every opportunity is not evidence of creeping laziness, obvious exceptions duly noted.
When you are young such as my precious Violet, impatience is an understandable attribute. But, those reading this are not likely 5 years old. And, if you are, then come around and see me, I may have a job for you.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC, a local law firm, and the owner-mediator at Voice of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456 or email@example.com or visit http://www.rkvlaw.com.