It’s not a race, people, slow down
A readers wants to make a point about learning to be more patient and teaching our kids to be more tolerant of delays.
WHATEVER happened to good old-fashioned patience?
On a daily basis, we are now continually moving fast to achieve more. We demand instant gratification. But there is a price to be paid for this: generally, we are becoming less and less patient, and in the process, we are putting a great deal of stress on ourselves.
Some of the behavioural dimensions that reveal our impatience – to name just a few I’ve observed – are:
> We press the lift button repeatedly, as if the car will arrive sooner by doing so. This scene is repeated at pedestrians’ crossings.
> We feel agitated when the Internet is slow. As Internet speeds increase, people will be even less willing to wait; they abandon accessing a page if it doesn’t open in fewer than 10 to 15 seconds, as waiting a couple of extra seconds feels like an eternity.
> We become anxious when we do not receive immediate replies to our e-mails.
> If there is a long queue, we feel entitled to walk away angrily.
> We scold the waiter for serving us “too slowly”.
> On the airplane, we disregard safety standard operating procedures by unfastening safety belts when it is not time to do so; the very impatient ones will even get out of their seat to retrieve their hand-carried luggage before the plane has come to a complete stop.
Generally, I see how we care so much about ourselves and less about others. Queue cutters, for instance, seem to send the message that, “My time is more important or valuable than yours”.
Impatience can also be a major source of road rage incidents. At a traffic light, when the motorist in front is a mere second or two late in responding to the green light, the impatient motorists behind will start honking loudly; this, of course, might jolt the motorist in front, who then shows the middle finger as if to say “Can’t you be a bit more patient” – I need not elaborate on what will happen next, right?
It’s a whole new world with Gen-Xers and Millennials, for whom 24 hours in a day is not enough to get what they want done. Technology might be helping us do things in a smarter way and more efficiently, but aren’t we constantly pushing ourselves to the limit because of that?
Whatever happened to good old-fashioned patience? Where has all our patience gone?
Impatience has given us shorter fuses. We are intolerant of delay. And I’m not sure where our “want it now” society is headed.
Could we learn to be more patient and teach our kids to be more tolerant of delays?
So, you have an urgent point to make, one that you feel is worth sharing? Make it at star2@ thestar.com.my to be featured in this column, Talking Point.