Patience: A Real Virtue

We have all been in a long line at the grocery store and begin to wonder why the line is not moving. We start asking ourselves, when will it move?

We slowly lose our patience. When we do, we often make poor choices. Here is a quick example:

For whatever reason the line at the grocery store is moving slowly, so you wait, and you wait. Your impatience starts to increase and you get frustrated, so you decide to put everything back despite the bargains you found, despite the fact that the store is close to your job, and despite the fact that you need to get back to work before your lunch is over.

You think, “It’s not worth it. I’ll go to the other store a few blocks away.” So you jump in your car and head to the other store that is only a few minutes away. However, you run into traffic and it takes longer than you expected. When you get there you can’t find the items you need or they cost more than the store you left – and the lines are just as long. You finally get through the line, out the door, and back to work.

You say to yourself, “I probably should have stayed in line at the first store.” Then a co-worker mentions she saw you in line ahead of her at the first store and as soon as you left the line started moving faster. She wondered what happened to you because she has been back for 20 minutes. To make matters worse, you only have 10 minutes left on your lunch break.

What happened? You got impatient and made a poor decision.

Sometimes impatience is a good thing, but most of the time it is not. Patience is the ability to wait for something or someone. It is also the ability to make a wise decision without letting our emotions get in the way. In the example above, frustration set in, which led to impatience, which led to a poor decision. Patience is a learned behavior. People do not come into this world patient. Patience is a sign of maturity and the sooner you learn it, the better off you will be.