I will never forget the day one of my clients exclaimed with utter frustration, “But I’ve already been patient!!”  We both looked at each other for the split second that it took for the irony of the comment to kick in and then burst into laughter.

How often is this our reaction to waiting, though? Practicing the art of patience is difficult in an instant gratification world! We want what we want and we want it now. Gone are the days of quilting circles where the satisfaction of a finished product was months away.

In today’s world our expectations of time are calibrated by fast food restaurants, high speed internet and 24/7 news brought to us real-time via television or social media. Our attention spans seem to shorten by the month.

Brian Regan, a great comedian, jokes about the two sets of instructions on a Pop Tart box. If you can’t squeeze in the 3 minutes it takes to toast the pastry you can opt for the time-saving 3 second microwave option. As he puts it, “If you have to zap-fry your Pop Tart you need to loosen up your schedule!”

How often is our worry, frustration or disappointment the result of unrealistic expectations around time? “What’s taking them so long?” “Why haven’t they finished yet?” “I need to know now!”

I must admit that I fall prey to this mindset myself. In pursuit of achieving and doing I try to fill every moment of every day with efficiency and multi-tasking. How much can I get done? How much can I move off my plate? But the reality is that it won’t all get done. Some things will have to wait and so will I.

According to dictionary.com the definition of patience is “the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.”

So, as is often the case, it is up to us to choose how we react to the inevitable. We can require immediate outcomes only to experience disappointment and frustration or we can practice the art of patience where it is less about doing and more about being. Focus on the what is more than the what if and experience life as a journey rather than a series of endpoints. Ease the pace, take a breath and wait. Some of life’s sweetest moments happen here if you linger long enough.