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Whatever Happened to Patience?

Whatever Happened to Patience?

IMPATIENCE has been around for a long time. There is nothing new about people losing their patience while stuck in traffic or waiting in line. But some experts believe that people are less patient today than in the past​—and for reasons that might surprise you.

Some analysts suggest that in recent years many people are less patient because of technology. According to The Gazette of Montreal, Canada, some researchers suggest that “digital technology, from cellphones to cameras to email to iPods, is changing our lives . . . The instant results we get from this technology have in turn increased our appetite for instant gratification in other aspects of our lives.”

Family psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein makes some sobering observations. She explains that “we have become an immediate gratification culture, and we expect things to move quickly, efficiently and in the way we want. When that doesn’t happen, we tend to become increasingly  frustrated and irritable, [a sign] of impatience.” She adds, “We’ve lost the art of just slowing down and enjoying the moment.”

Some believe that e-mail is losing popularity and could soon become obsolete. Why? Because many people who send messages do not have the patience to wait hours, or even minutes, for a response. Also, with e-mails, as with letter writing, introductory and concluding greetings are often expected. But many people consider such formalities to be boring and time-consuming. They prefer instant messaging, which does not require the protocols of e-mail. It seems that people just do not have the patience to type polite greetings! Many people do not take the time to proofread what they put in writing. As a result, letters and e-mails go out to the wrong recipients or contain numerous grammatical and typographical errors.

Many people do not have the patience to read lengthy text on a printed page

The thirst for immediate results is not limited to the realm of digital communication. People seem to be losing their ability to wait in other areas of life. For instance, do you ever find yourself talking too fast, eating too fast, driving too fast, or spending money too fast? The few moments it takes to wait for an elevator to come, for a traffic light to change, or for a computer to boot up may seem like an eternity.

Experts have observed that many people do not have the patience to read through lengthy text in print. Why? Because they are accustomed to navigating speedily through Web pages, jumping from blurb to blurb and from bullet to bullet, hoping to land on the main point as quickly as possible.

Whatever happened to patience? Experts do not have all the answers when it comes to the causes of impatience. Yet, there seems to be compelling evidence that impatience can be harmful. The following articles discuss some of the risks of impatience and what you can do to be more patient.

Many people are accustomed to navigating speedily through Web pages, jumping from blurb to blurb