How to be patient (and not an asshole)

Reading time: 9 minutes

Dave and Joey are waiting for the bus. Dave is enjoying the wind in his face, the smell of fresh raindrops on the concrete, the dynamics between people. His heart rate is low, his mind is clear, he has a smile on his face and he feels good. He is patient. He is not even waiting on the bus, he just is.

Just a couple of feet away stands Joey. He’s anxious and looks tense. His muscles are cramping and he constantly looks on his phone. He checks the bus times as well and he’s mumbling in himself. He’s not receptive to his surroundings, totally unaware of the beauty that nature brings and fills the space around him with a negative force. Stress hormones are slowly poisoning him. His heart is beating out of his chest and in a dark corner of his body, illness is starting to erupt. But, he doesn’t care. He’s impatient and doesn’t have time for this shit.

Finally, the bus arrives, just two minutes late. Joey rushes to the front and steps in. He then throws a tantrum at the bus driver and finally sits in the back of the bus bitching to other people why the bus driver is an asshole. Dave also steps in, nods friendly to the bus driver and takes a seat in the bus. 15 minutes later both men arrive at their destination. At exactly the same time. Same route, same timeframe, totally different experience from an individual position and a totally different effect on their surroundings.

Moral of the story: patience is a virtue. Oh, and Joey is an asshole.

We want it all and we want it now

These are the exact words Freddy Mercury sang in 1989 and they ring truer than ever. Why? Because we simply can get many more things in a shorter timespan. Innovation is happening at a speed that we can’t comprehend (the singularity is near, mofos), and we are conditioned that having everything right now is a real thing. But, you can’t have everything and you certainly can’t have it now. Why not? Because that’s just not how life works.

Sure, there’s a lot of things we can get and experience right fucking now. And then, there’s all the other stuff. The stuff that takes time, the stuff that goes through a process, the stuff that happens when it happens and has a certain place in space and time, you know, a single moment in time where the actual shit happens.  The good stuff.

If you could get everything you want right now, would you still enjoy it? The answer is yes. Yes, until you reach the glass ceiling and then the answer becomes no. After that, you just keep searching for new highs, but when you’re banging your head against the glass ceiling the only way is down. Just look at Hollywood stars that overdose on drugs in a 10.000 dollar hotel suite with 20 high-end hookers, naked leprechauns chanting and purple elephants around them. They died a lost soul.

Having it all and having it now goes against any law in the Universe. It happens when it happens, and in all other cases, it simply doesn’t.

A medal just for showing up

But, in modern day and age, Universal laws can suck major balls. We don’t care about it, it’s our world! Everything is instant. We get rewarded for showing up. We get credits for showing our face, without doing the work. Impatience is a logical consequence.

If the reward is in the beginning for just showing up, why would you stay till the end? Teens take 20 selfies, pick the best, add a filter, post it to the Gram, add some hashtags and the likes start flowing in. Their pupils widen and dopamine is rushing through their bodies. They get rewarded just for showing up. This is the life! 

Internet life happens instantly. It’s a world of quick wins, a place where you create your own perfect world. A place where unrealistic things happen which slowly rub off on real life. Deep down we know it’s not real, but we just neglect it. You know, that thing we do when we don’t want to do the hard stuff or want to face problems of reality.

We live a life of instant gratification and if the gratification is just five seconds late we get impatient. It’s goddamn 2018 and we decide the rules, so hurry up with those rewards Mr fancy Universe!

But, the Universe just smiles and doesn’t care about sucking your major stinky balls. This is her game and if you don’t play according to the rules, you will lose. Over and over again.

The burden of the impatient

When you are constantly impatient you just show the world you’re struggling and haven’t figured it out yet. You might feel like a go-getter because you put things in action, but action was already bound to happen, you just gave the process a false start. Being impatient is basically denying life. It’s a way of saying “This isn’t’ good enough for me, so let’s move on”.

The impatient doesn’t trust the process and therefore doesn’t trust life. He is fearful, anxious. Anxious about the present, because he doesn’t like the way things are, and anxious that the past will catch up with him. And so he rushes through life being impatient. Always chasing the future, and never experiencing the now.

If you don’t experience the now, you’re life compounds to a life of shitloads of never experienced moments. It’s like a playing a video game where you rush through the levels without enjoying them. Sure, you might make it till the end, but what’s there? The goal of the game is to enjoy the game and not to reach the end. Reaching the end is always an anti-climax. When you reach the end of life and you’ve been impatient all the time the only thing you’ll find at the end of the road is your own mind going “Fuck, I messed up”.

As a kid I would play day and night to finish a game, I’d rush through the levels and then finally the glory moment was there. I finished the game! Then there was an ending video and a long list of names that made the game possible. I was disappointed. All this work and stress to reach the end and this is it?

After the disappointment settled in, I started the game over. I took my time, enjoyed the design, found all the hidden treasures and got a high score. I was experiencing the game in the now without worrying about the outcome. I was patient and fully experiencing the game.

The paradox of the impatient

While being impatient maybe makes you faster, which in most cases doesn’t (the bus driver got delayed an extra 30 seconds because of the tantrum), you’ve made your life pretty miserable and even way harder than it should be. You’re the coworker that’s always on edge and pushing people to move faster and as a result, they hate you. You have a bad relationship with your child because you don’t have the patience for their playing in the present moment and now they don’t like you. Turning the oven higher doesn’t make the cake is done faster. It just means the fucker is burnt on the outside and wet on the inside. 

The impatient creates a space in which he never gets to enjoy the results of a process that’s given the time it needs. You can yell at the barista to hurry up and make your coffee, but the coffee won’t be as good. It will be a sloppy version of the work of art it could be.

You’re too impatient for the blockbuster movie to be released on Blu-ray and so you download a shitty webrip and watch it in bad quality. Sure, you have seen the movie, but you didn’t enjoy it as much as you could. You miss out on all the wonders of the world, simply because you don’t allow these wonders to fully blossom in the time and space they need.

The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Life happens in the small things. So, when you are impatient and in the habit of never letting your kid finish putting on his own jacket and shoes and interfere because it takes too long, it becomes a blueprint. Not just for you, but for the kid as well. Sure, you might have saved two minutes, but you condition yourself into believing that people are unable to fix their own things and the kid thinks that: A, he always does everything wrong, and B, you’re a fucking asshole. I’m no accountant, but that sounds like a pretty bad deal for just two minutes time saved.

(Or you might just keep interfering just to get the feeling that you are needed, which is an entirely different article.)

When you force things, they break. Maybe not immediately, and often not materialistic, but they break. Relationships break, your trust in the world breaks and every now and then actual stuff breaks because you don’t have the finesse to treat it the way it was meant to.

Impatience is a form of narcissism. Why should the entire world conspire to meet your needs by any means necessary? Why do you try to pull everyone down to your low vibrations? It ’s neurotic behavior. It’s a silly thing to do. It just shows you’re struggling in life.

The road of life

Imagine your life as a long road. The level of patience you have decides the width of the road. The more patience, the wider the road. The rules of the road are simple: if you hit the sides, you’ll spin (you know, the banana spin in Mario Kart thingy).

So, if you are an impatient fucker the road you’ll be driving is just wide enough that it fits your car (which is you) on it. This means the buffer in which you can operate is non-existent or very small. This asks a great deal of energy since you need laser focus to stay within the boundaries. You need Ayrton Senna skills just to stay on course. Needless to say, you’ll fuck up with just the tiniest bump on the road.

While the impatient is struggling just to keep his car on the road, the patient man enjoys an entirely different road trip. His road is a football field wide and he has all the space in the world to play around. He doesn’t have the intense pressure of spinning out since his buffer is buffed like The Rock. He drives anyway he wants to, has all the opportunity to drift, to make donuts, to ride backward. Basically, he has a playing field where he can fully enjoy the now.

The impatient is always annoyed with the patient because things are just not moving fast enough. The patient man is never annoyed with the impatient, he’s just the whisper. The soothing voice that whispers “calm down, everything will be alright”. But, no matter how dedicated the patient one is to show the wide road, too often the impatient is simply blind to see.

In rare cases when this message reaches the soul of the impatient, magic happens. He snaps out of his neuroticism and wakes up in the now, even if it’s just for a second. He gets a glimpse of the wide road the patient rides every single moment of his life. Many times this is just a tiny fragment, but sometimes this leads to a new paradigm, a new reality.

The virtue of patience

The waiting game is an easy thing. You just have to wait for the perfect space and time. If you know there’s a right space and time you’ll just wait, just like you wait for the train to come. No matter what you do, it will come when it comes. However, there is a nuance to this concept.

When people say patience is a virtue, many interpret this in a way that dictates being lazy is the way to go. They simply wait for good things to happen to them, for the moment the doorbell rings and someone hands them a million dollars, but this is not patience. This is laziness and foolishness.

Being patience is an entirely different game. It is taking action while trusting the process. Patience has everything to do with the process. It’s starting a process and allowing it everything it needs to fully blossom. It’s planting a seed an nurturing it, so a flower will rise from the dirt. Patience always comes after a decision. A decision to act.

There’s beauty in waiting, there’s beauty in things taking time, there’s beauty in things taking its natural course to ripe. We understand this when it comes to a 35-year-old bottle of whiskey, but we can’t understand this when it comes to everyday things. The anticipation, the waiting game, ads contrast and makes the experience better. The patient one accepts chaos and knows order, a new reality, is just around the corner.

How to be patient

Being patient is accepting the now. It’s experiencing life and all the processes you encounter at its fullest. You embrace the suffering and celebrate the joys. The joy is much bigger as well since you know everything happens for you and not to you. All is well. You enter a meditative state and live in the now. Life is basically carrying you through its beauty and at the end of the road you can say “I have lived a wonderful life”. If you live your life patiently once is enough.

If you take the time to be patient you’ll find that most things are much easier than you think. Slow cooking might seem like a ton of work, but it’s actually simpler than fast cooking and the end result is so much better. Being patient with people puts them at ease, which makes your place in the community so much better.

Trust that life is happening for you and not to you. Know that the process is the process. Trust that things will work out one way or the other. The Universe doesn’t need you interfering in things, just let things be. And most important, stop being an asshole, because that’s what you are when you’re being impatient. You’re putting your own neurotic needs above everyone else’s and since we’re all connected you pull down the vibration. Nice job, asshole.

Wait without waiting. Just be. Oh, and stop being an asshole.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash


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