There’s an old saying that patience is a virtue. But if patience is a virtue then what does that make impatience? Could impatience simply be a vice?
I personally believe impatience to be a catalyst for giving up or changing paths too early due to the way we are conditioned with our busy lives these days.
Everything has a sense of urgency on it. The way we work and live our personal lives are all structured around being “busy”.
So in that same way we are changing our neural networks to develop a sense of impatience which flows down to other aspects of our lives. Wanting to lose weight, for example, is often now packaged up in 8 to 12-week “body transformation” packages.
This might be a long enough time frame for someone to get from lean to super lean but for the everyday purpose, it’s not long enough to build sustainable, lifelong habits.
And it’s not only physical changes that require great patience. It’s easy to try meditating for 1 to 2 weeks and expect a great transformation. But things don’t work that quickly with the mind either. Just as the body requires physical changes, the mind actually requires physical changes too.
New neurons and pathways need to be constructed. Old habits need to be unlearned or “overwritten” by these new pathways, and this too takes time.
Think about how old you are. 20, 30 or 40 years old. Now think about how long your old habits have been around. Your body shape or your existing pathways has been constructed over a period of years, if not decades, so how can we expect to see such sudden changes in a matter of weeks?
The good news though, is that with consistency change is usually inevitable. If you do the right things long enough, your body will behave differently, and so too will your mind.
But how can we overcome this vice known as impatience and develop a sense of patience? The answer is to simply be aware of the mind. Notice thoughts from a distance and be aware of the fact that things take time.
This won’t stop your mind from interjecting every now and then. It’s almost guaranteed to get disheartened at immediate results and try and convince you that the path you’re on needs shortcuts.
But that doesn’t mean you need to pay any attention to these thoughts or listen to them as if they are true. Simply notice the thought and label it as “thinking”, or thank your mind, and stick to the long path because that is where real change is born.