Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The world we're living in today is rapid. Information travels at an eye glance. Everything is available at your fingertips.

It is said that humans living in today's world are exposed to new information as much as previous generations would learn in years, tens of years, or even hundreds. [1]

The outcome of that velocity is the impatience each of us feels at some point or another. Maybe it's just me, but from time to time I feel so impatient. With everything. I feel that time is passing at the pace of a snail, and my brain is in a hurry. Sometimes, in conversations, I catch myself eager to respond instead of actually listening. Eager to do something, instead of being present.

Maybe there are better explanations for why sometimes I feel this way. But, I would like to address the factor of impatience that each of us has, in today's world. Being it in regular conversation with a fellow human being, or in general - the impatient living.

Why this much impatience?

As it happens usually - if you are in a certain environment, that environment will start to impact your behaviour. [2] Therefore, we get impatient because we are in an environment where everything is fast.

For example, we forgot the date of an event from history. You know you knew it a lifetime ago, but cannot remember it at this moment. What do you do? You impatiently take your smartphone and search for that information. And voila - it's on the tip of your fingers. But, let me ask you this - how long will you hold this information? Wouldn't it be better for you to try and recall that date by yourself instead of impatiently grabbing your smartphone?

Causes of impatience

From my point of view, the main cause of this impatience (in my life, at least) is the availability of information. That and maybe learned patterns of behaviour when I was younger, and wanted to have everything and to have it now.

Years ago, when I was starting college, I wrote to myself that boredom is bad. And I've been living by these words for a while. Every moment I had, I spent it reading, doing something useful, helping someone, learning, training, meeting friends, and so on. Boredom is bad was my motto. This was the root cause of my impatience.

Other sources of impatience can also be tied to the plethora of information - books, videos, stories, podcasts, etc. There is so much information you are not sure if they are a ton of BS or not. And, the most important thing - the discovery of whether what you're reading is a ton of BS or not is a hard process. It involves much research and critical thinking. But you don't have time for that, do you?

To be frank, it's not just time that we lack (this may be a topic for another article?). There are more reasons why we don't research some topics as much as we would need, not want, but need to. One thing impacting it is confirmation bias - we don't want to look for the opposite aspect of the information we're taking in if we generally agree with the concept.[3] But, this as well might be a good topic for YAA[4].

Consequences of impatience

So, what are some consequences I (or you might) feel because of being impatient?

Commence multitasking. We start listening to some podcasts while doing something else. Watching a conference, and at the same trying to stay concentrated on some important work. Being in an online meeting, while endlessly scrolling social media, or replying to e-mails.

I learned that multitasking is a myth. There is no multitasking, just fast context-switching. If you think otherwise, let me know in the comments below. I do want to hear the other side as well. (YAA)

Interestingly enough, some time ago, when I started experimenting with meditation, I remember stopping it because it was impacting my multitasking ability. In hindsight, I know I made a mistake.

Half-assing things. That is the main product of impatience, and multitasking, for that matter. I personally wasn't fully focused on the thing at hand. Only partially, switching my focus from one thing to another, ending up in half-assing both things.

React instead of listen. When you are talking to someone, you are more focused on replying instead of just listening. Try notice that moment of eagerness to reply with your own experience, and channel it to something else. For example, ask a question to learn more.

Focus on goal. Instead of concentrating on the process and enjoying it, we're focused on just completing it, reaching the goal. While completely forgetting how we ended up where we are.

Haste makes waste. Or as we would say in Serbia - Što je brzo, to je i kuso. Whatever you do fast, it wouldn't be done correctly.

How to stop being impatient?

Finally, after dropping all this jibber-jabber on your head, what can we can do to fix this?

The below list can vary on a person-to-person basis. However, I found the below tasks helping me in one way or another.

  • Meditation. It helps you be more present, in the moment. It increases your ability to focus. At least it did increase for me.
  • Remember that being informed doesn't mean being in the know. Take time to explore more of the information you consume (this article included!), and look at both sides of the coin, instead of just one.
  • Breathe. Whenever you feel impatient, just breathe through the feeling.
  • Prioritize. Use some prioritization mechanism, e.g. Eisenhower matrix, or something similar. It will help you concentrate on the things that are most important to you.
  • There is always time. If you organize well and prioritize, you will always find time for the things you want and love to do.
  • Allow yourself to experience boredom.


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  4. Yet Another Article - a topic that will hopefully be covered someday, but definitely won't. ↩︎