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.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Opinion - By POLA SINGH

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@ thes­ to be fea­tured in this col­umn, Talk­ing Point.

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