Is patience still a virtue in our almost-instant gratification world? Here's why just a little patience can help you make better decisions.

In our fast-food, fast-fashion, fast-paced, want-it-all-now world, it can be easy to wonder if patience is truly a virtue. It often seems so easy to get what you want right away, that when you have to wait even a little bit, it can seem like you are waiting forever.

More and more it seems like impatience dominates our lives. We used to be happy to wait the 10-15 minutes it would take to reheat food in the oven, now we’re impatient when waiting the two minutes it takes in the microwave. In a world where almost-instant gratification is becoming the norm, waiting even a few minutes for anything seems like too much to bear.

What Does Patience Really Mean?

Let’s take a look at what patience really means. Generally, it means being able to tolerate delay without getting impatient. However, it is not necessarily a passive activity. It takes an active commitment, knowing when to take action and when not to, being persistent, consistent, and persevering.

While the origin of the saying “patience is a virtue” can be traced to a poem circa 1360, the concept of patience as a valuable character trait has been found even before then in the Bible. In both Judaism and Christianity, the ability to accept unfortunate circumstances, even suffering, with faith in God’s plan is the cornerstone of faith.

Why Is Patience a Virtue?

I would argue that patience is still – and always has been – a virtue. Sure, I’m one of those who often stares at the microwave for the full two minutes it takes to heat my food. And in the end, the food tastes subpar at best. Had I only had the patience to pre-heat the oven and warm the food properly, I would have enjoyed a delicious, leisurely meal and not scarfed down too-hot leftovers.

The virtues of patience go beyond just heating up your food. We’re all in such a rush to get somewhere, speeding down the highway, trying to beat out traffic lights so we can get somewhere, no matter where, a few minutes sooner. But patience is an exercise in self-control that demonstrates that you can handle life when things get tough, that you can look outside yourself, and exercise good judgment.

We all feel frustration and impatience sometimes, even those known for their poise and quiet manner. We all want what we want now, even if we know that patience is not only an essential virtue, but protection against hasty and often dangerous actions. Lack of patience can cause you to make decisions that:

  • Negatively impact your health and happiness.
  • Waste your time.
  • Put you under a lot of stress.
  • Strain your relationships.
  • Put your life in danger.
  • Everything in life happens for a reason. It’s all a part of God’s plan. Sometimes you face an obstacle because you need to grow in ways you didn’t realize. It’s not always obvious when that is happening, but with patience, you will soon see clearly why something occurred when it did. And what you were meant to learn from it.

    When you are impatient, it is easy to make decisions that you know are bad to get to your desired goal faster. Taking your time to think about your actions – being patient – is a small price to pay when determining the best possible solution to any situation.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Schneider is a writer, poet, and marketing professional who is passionate about practicing self improvement. Ms. Schneider enjoys reading to her children, exploring the outdoors, and traveling with her family.