How to work on your patience

How patient are you? You more than likely fall into one of three categories:

  • Super patient: You are a master of killing time when necessary. You are not phased by the idea of a 10-hour layover. You will get there when you get there. Patience is part of the journey, after all.
  • Moderately patient: While a lack of food and sleep might irritate you at times, you can handle waiting it out for the long haul. Slow, never-ending lines get on your nerves, but you don’t let anyone know about it.
  • Not patient at all: You hear the words “15 minute wait” and you’re pissed. Your time is the most valuable thing in the universe, so there will be no “waiting.” Your attitude gets worse the more patient you are asked to be. That asshole who just asked you to “please be patient” has it coming!

Which scenario seems the most enjoyable to you?

We’d all like to think we’re super patient, but rarely is this the case. Some people who think they have a “go with the flow” attitude can get temperamental and downright annoying the moment a wrench is thrown into the system. I’ve seen it happen it a million times.

Over the years, I’ve gone from “Not Patient At All” to “Super Patient.” And I’m not trying to brag. It took a ton of hard work to change!

The littlest thing would set me off back in my not-so-patient days. I was so easily annoyed and grouchy when things didn’t go smoothly. Waiting on anything to happen seemed to take an eternity—plenty of time to pout and generally make life for the people around me unbearable.

I can’t recall exactly what it was, but something clicked. I do remember thinking I didn’t have to be such an impatient jerk when things weren’t going my way.

So I decided to change.

And it took every ounce of patience I possessed to get through certain situations. There were times when I thought I wasn’t cut out for being a patient person. My bad temper would constantly attempt to take over. But I stuck it out.

Over time, I developed a few improvement techniques:

  • Breathe: You know that constrictive feeling you get in your chest when you’re super impatient and things are only getting worse? It probably has something to do with the fact that you’re not breathing properly.
  • Ignore it all: This one did wonders for me. I learned how to tune out undesirable situations. My patience thanked me for it.
  • Focus on the positive: So you’re stuck in a bus station for 12 hours? Oh well. That’s a great people watching opportunity. Plus there’s plenty of time to explore.
  • Find good company: Ever notice how a group of pissed off impatient people become more pissed off and impatient around each other? Well, the same is true if you’re hanging with a couple of chill cats without a care in the world.
  • Don’t dwell: You’re in trouble when you have hours to contemplate what it is that’s testing your patience. Take a walk. Smoke a cigar. Play chess with your buddy. Don’t dwell.

I’d love to hear what kind of person you are—super patient, moderately patient, or not patient at all. If you fall into the super to moderately patient category, were you always that way, or did you work to get there?

If you fall into the “crabby ass, totally impatient, get out of my way or you will die category,” have you thought about what it might take to change?



    1. Yeah, the “gotta pee real bad” component can throw off an impatient person right away! Outta my way!

  1. It was a herniated disc when I was 24 that taught me the patience lesson…there is only so much you can do while you are in constant bad pain…you HAVE to conserve energy and plan your moves…..a year of that and I was on my way…not sure I have moved to more patient but can keep myself busy while I wait without bitching and making everyone else around me miserable. LOL

    1. Ouch! Hopefully all the other poor impatient souls out there don’t have to suffer a herniated disc to learn a lesson! Then again, it worked for you, so…

  2. Moderately to super patient. Especially in airports and the like. Really not much you can do about it then…
    And I’m glad I read this wrong – thought the title was how to become A super patient.

    1. That could be an interesting post. Step 1: Schedule as many visits with your doctor as possible. Step 2: Schedule as many follow-up visits to your doctor as possible.

      Airports are a true test of patience, and like you said, there really ain’t much you can do about it. Yet you’ll still see at least a handful of whiny, impatient travelers pouting in the corner every time.

  3. super moderately patient or moderately super patient… I learned in the Army…cause you do a lot of sitting arounf waiting and lots of things you have very little control over. Lines airports..bus stations ..whatever don;t bother me.. then… add in a mood swing here and there and yes.. I can get impatient…or I can be damn near catatonic not giving a crap… but I try not to be an asshole… unless you are in front of me driving too slow.. but its not like you could hear me so …I am patient.

    1. So when I’m doing 45 in a 65, and I look into my rear view mirror and see a woman shaking her fist and screaming at me, wearing a US Army hat, I’ll know who it is.

      How much time is spent sitting around in the Army would you say? 20%? More?

      1. no no no… I can contain myself – you would only see my mouth moving – in a sarcastic sort of way… hmmmm if I answer that truthfully, it might take away from the myth of doing more by 9 am than most people do all day.. 😉 but seriously it depends where you are at.. the first 2 weeks of training.. 80% easy – waiting for shots and field gear and chow and its endless…I had a theory that they did it on purpose to gt a feel for the new recruits they were working with. You can tell a lot about someone by how well they wait… waiting to deploy or go to the field… I have been in situations where we have been on stand down.. for over 24 hours.. and all you can do is wait because you may get the go at any time. but to make up for it ..there are days that you never stop …sometimes 20 hours.. I think that is where you definitely learn the patience too is that you sometimes never know when you have to wait without any control over it. And it doesn;t help to get mad or wish you could do something just can’t. It also can come as a welcome reprieve sometimes when you have been going nonstop.. you think you may have days more to go.. and you are put on hold.. that can put a whole new perspective on things…

  4. I am moderate to super patient! Except when it comes to my computer or my cell phone – I have wanted to smash them both before….lol….and taking a deep breath always seems to help calm me back down.

    1. Technology….ugh. I hear ya. Why is it that technology always seems to misbehave when you need it most (say, during an important phone call, for example)? Maybe the Technology Gods and Patience Gods collaborate to annoy the hell outta of us.

  5. It’s funny, my husband and I are each on the opposite sides of the spectrum (me being the most patient and him, not so much). So I’d like to say we even each other out when we are together, especially if we have each other to entertain — and ESPECIALLY while travelling! I do admit, though, that I can be a wee bit impatient if I haven’t had anything to eat…the evil side of me comes out! LOL.

    1. You being the patient one, do you have to calm him down at times? Your patience probably plays into the “find good company” tip for him. If you freaked out at the slightest inconvenience, I would assume he’d follow suit.

      1. Haaha, actually, if I freaked out, he would turn into the calm one 🙂 I guess it’s safe to say we switch roles from time to time. We both have a pretty good sense of humor, so that helps to keep things light if we are a bit inconvenienced. I think that is what makes the adversities of traveling so fun (and tolerable) for us!

  6. This post came (to me, albeit a bit late) at an interesting time because I just got into a comment fight with another blogger. I take people’s comments to heart as if they are the “truth” .. but I had to realize this morning that her comments were of an attacking nature, so I went through and deleted them, and my responses, and my initial comment on her blog that started the whole thing (to discover that she either deleted or never approved my comment to begin with). This ties to patience because my reaction to her comment was made at 5:30 AM – obviously I was not patient enough to let her words process in my head. I wish I had just ignored them from the beginning and deleted her comment, to prevent the whole thing. Anyway, lesson learned. And then I came across this blog. I was a very impatient person, but in the past four months I’ve had great (super) patience .. there are days and moments (mainly when blood sugar is low) that I lose it in my own way. Red lights kill me. And then there are things people say that make my lose my patience. I think your biggest piece of advice (for me) was to ignore it .. in the world of Facebook, Twitter, blogging .. it’s hard to ignore the comments from others. But I do need to work on it. Perhaps I should walk away from Twitter & Facebook altogether .. and by the way, further away from being a dirt bag these days. A part-time job in my field working for people who are filled with heart .. has made all the difference. Great blog, as usual. Long comment from me, as usual. Sorry. :-/

    1. I think we’ve all been there online before. Somebody makes a rude comment, you strike back right away, a few hours later you start to regret your words. I’ve had it happen to me several times, and I felt terrible about it. So these days, I make sure I digest the rude comment and move on, or just ignore it altogether.

      So stoked to hear you landed a gig! Do a little happy dance. And ignore all those stupid comments online. High five!

  7. I think I’m overall pretty patient, but I get annoyed when someone CONSISTENTLY is late and is making me wait there. To me, it’s a sign of disrespect *grrrr*

    Btw, I am running around the blogosphere leaving this annoying message with people who had subscribed to my blog before I changed my domain name. Apparently my posts are not showing up in their Readers and I must ask them to kindly unsubscribe & resubscribe to my blog, by just unclicking and clicking on the “Following” button at the top of my page

    Would ya mind? I’d really appreciate it, Eric. You are da best!! =P
    – Janice

    1. The late thing drives me crazy, too! How hard is it to just show up on time, as agreed? For people like us, not so hard. Yet so many people remain “on time” challenged. Grrrr is right!

      I’ll check to make sure your posts are showing up in my reader. I went over and did the unclicky clicky thingy. Seemed to work. Why the domain name change?

      1. I know! I think sometimes they just have a terrible sense of timing how long various things are going to take leading up to when they need to be ready *sigh*

        I thought it just made more sense to make my domain name the same as my actual blog name. And I don’t know if I’ll always be using the “Cafe” name forever 🙂 Thanks for re-subscribing!

  8. I suppose I’d consider myself between moderately patient and not patient at all. Especially when I am hungry (hangry, as my friends and family call it)! However, it also depends on the situation; I have very little patience for random children running amok or screaming, but when it’s my younger cousins or friends’ kids, I have the patience of a saint and even think it’s cute!

    1. A sub-category for patience….hum, very interesting. Seriously chuckled when you mentioned hangry. I’ll be using that one for sure! Personally, I’ve learned to tune out all kids, all the time. They used to drive me crazy on long flights or bus rides, but these days, I hardly hear them. Oh wait. Is that because I now use noise cancelling headphones?

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