Written by: Alexandra Niel, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I have never been a patient person and have many examples of the different ways I might lose patience at any given time. To this day, I burn my tongue when I eat soup because A. I’m hungry, B. It smells really good and I can’t help myself and C. I don’t want to wait for it to cool off. After getting countless numbers of blisters on the roof of my mouth, you’d think I’d learn!
I have developed more patience over the years. As I have grown and matured, I’ve come to face the fact that being patient helps in my general well-being. For example, when I was younger and I got behind the wheel of my car, I would turn into a “raging lunatic”. Not a great picture, right? If you’ve ever seen the cartoon about Goofy getting behind the wheel of the car, you’ll get the idea… Here’s the link. This particular behavior was one I learned from my environment and one I quickly stopped doing as I realized the only one who cared was me!
My boyfriend is my tech support and he is constantly telling me to slow down when I ask him for a solution to a tech question. I start bouncing all around the screen, trying to anticipate what he’s going to do and truth be told, he is an angel because HE never loses his patience with me!
I knew patience was not my strong suit, but when I started my entrepreneurial journey, I realized just how much so. I wanted everything to happen so fast. But the best thing is that it has taught me to be more patient in my everyday life as well.
There are 5 hidden reasons behind why we lose patience and I’ll share 5 quick solutions for dealing with them, so read on!
Having Unrealistic Expectations
One of the reasons why we lose patience is that we don’t manage our expectations. We live in a world of “I want it now” and that extends to everything from getting the newest iPhone to wanting to be an overnight success.
When our expectations are not managed, we set ourselves up for disappointment which then leads to problems.
The week after I left corporate, I was so excited! I was getting on video, I was writing, I was connecting with people, and... I ended up getting debilitating, take-your-breathaway back spasms, making an emergency trip to the chiropractor, and in physical therapy for 3 weeks.
Now, there is nothing wrong with being excited. On the contrary! But in this case, I didn’t manage my expectations. I didn’t take into account that I might need to take a break and release 30 years of corporate stress from my body before I could dive head first into the deep end of the pool.
So my body reminded me that I needed to take a break and release my previous life before I could fully step into my new one.
Idea 1: Take a beat, observe and map out your goals
When you find yourself in uncharted territory, it’s important to take a step back and assess the new situation, so you can understand the impact of this new dynamic on your life. A treatment plan without a diagnosis is malpractice. The same goes for your life. You can’t step into something completely new and out of your comfort zone without doing some recognizance first. You can’t blindly apply the same solutions and expect them to work every time. Some will work, and others will not.
So, get clear on your goals. What are you trying to achieve? Once you have that clarity, you can start mapping out an action plan with clear milestones. That will keep you motivated and seeing progress.
Being a Perfectionist
Another reason we lose patience is that we’re perfectionists. We expect everything to be perfect all the time and get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan.
This is one I am very guilty of. As a recovering perfectionist, I know the toll it takes on someone. We seek perfection because we feel that if we behave perfectly, look perfect and live a perfect life, we will minimize the risk of feeling painful emotions such as anger, blame, guilt, or shame. Personally, I wanted to be perfect because I was seeking praise from my father. And when things went sideways because you know... life, I was afraid of how that would reflect on him.
But let's be honest, that is not realistic! We expect things to be perfect but the reality is that life is messy and imperfect. And that’s okay!
Idea 2: Look for Progress, not Perfection
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated because things aren’t going according to plan, remember that progress, not perfection is the goal. And cut yourself some slack! This doesn’t mean that you should settle for less than what you want. But it does mean that you should learn to be okay with things being imperfect.
How do you do that? You focus on the process, not the outcome. You celebrate your progress, not your perfection. You learn to be flexible and adaptable and you extend yourself some grace as you learn.
Letting go of the need for perfection will help you to be more patient and less frustrated with life. It will also help you to enjoy the journey more.
Taking Things Personally
I'll go back to the driving example. I used to think. Who do these people think they are? How dare they cut me off! I have places to go to, people to see, things to do... You know how it goes!
When things don’t go our way, it’s easy to take it personally. We can start thinking that we’re not good enough or that we made the wrong decision. But sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And it has nothing to do with us. But we can still feel slighted or like someone has wronged us somehow. The truth is, that feeling is a sign that your ego is bruised. And when our ego gets bruised, it can be hard to see things as they are.
Bringing it back to my entrepreneurial journey, I haven't gotten the results I wanted as fast as I wanted to get them, and there are days when I second guess myself. I think "maybe this isn't for me". And then I get a message out of the blue that reminds me I am doing exactly what I am meant to do and all I need to do is have a little more patience. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and give it some time.
Idea 3: Remember it's not about you!
The next time something doesn’t go your way, take the spotlight off yourself and examine what is actually going on because maybe it has nothing to do with you. It could be that the timing isn’t right or that there are other factors at play that you’re not aware of. Whatever it is, don’t take it personally and give yourself some grace. And trust that the Universe IS conspiring in your favor!
Not Being Present
Another reason why we lose patience is that we’re not present. When we live in a state of constant worry about the future or dwell on the past, we miss out on the joy and beauty of the present moment.
I know I am guilty of this! The last time that happened to me, I was spending some time with a friend, but I was not all there. In my mind, I was thinking about the next day and what I still needed to do to be ready. I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. But whose fault was that? Entirely mine! I hadn't prepared effectively and found myself pressed for time. But in the moment, I was getting impatient with her because our conversation was taking too long. What...?!?
What I have learned is that it's important to take a step back and enjoy the ride. Yes, there will be bumps along the way. But if we can learn to appreciate the moment, it will make the destination that much sweeter.
Idea 4: Be present and enjoy the journey!
The next time you find yourself worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, take a step back and bring your focus to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, and smells around you. What can you appreciate in this moment? And trust that everything is happening for your highest good.
Having a Short Fuse
The last reason we lose patience is that we have a short fuse. We’re quick to anger and slow to forgive.
Often, this is a learned behavior. It may be something we picked up from our parents and we are mimicking the same without taking time to ask ourselves if this behavior is serving us. My aggression behind the wheel was learned from my parents. Losing my patience when I am on the phone and I get a recording and I navigate through menu after menu is still something I am working on. There have been times I have talked to the phone as if it was a real person and I was airing out my grievances.
Over the years, I have learned that this stems from a desire to control. If I can control the situation, circumstances, and people, then I can control the outcome and things will go the way I want them to. And I forget there is a universe that brings me exactly what I need. It can be frustrating!
Idea 5: Work on managing your anger
If you find that you have a short fuse, it’s important to work on your anger management.
Practicing deep breathing, counting to 10 (or 20) before you say or do anything, walking away from the situation if possible, or talking to someone about what’s bothering you are all good coping mechanisms.
And learning to manage your anger will not only help you to be more patient, but it will also improve your overall well-being.
These are a few of the main reasons why we lose patience. If you find that you’re struggling with patience, try to identify the root cause. Once you know what’s causing your impatience, you can work on addressing it.
Patience is a virtue and in some cases, it is a learned behavior. The best way to be more patient is to start practicing patience in your everyday life. Find small ways to work on it every day so that it becomes a habit. Be patient in both the good (so you can fully enjoy what is going on) and the bad times (so you don't lose your sanity). Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the ride!
Alexandra Niel, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Alexandra Niel is a Certified High Performance and Mindset Coach and a FemCity Collective Leader. She has 30 years of experience in Corporate and is a French native who has lived and worked in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Her journey into personal development and coaching began after a personal event and she became certified by the High-Performance Institute in 2016. Alex uses a mix of science-validated methodology, experience, and intuition to support women who feel something is missing from their lives to gain perspective and self-awareness and boldly step into their greatest potential, so they can have the balance, impact and meaningful legacy they desire.
Alex loves reading, discovering new restaurants, and trying different and exotic foods and is an avid traveler. Her motto is "Life is too short to not chase your dreams."