Don’t give impatience a bad rap!

Binit Kaur

So WHAT of the new age impatience? Which is not so new age anymore. Not, at least, from where I’m standing. I’ve lived with it, had it, and seen it for as long as I can remember. Is it really our fault that we’re faster? Doesn’t speed also make for efficiency? What’s the problem then? I suppose the problem arises only when those who are slower feel left out or left behind. They then assign negative connotations to impatience.

But why should patience be regarded a virtue? I don’t know (m)any people who would rather wait for something when they could get it sooner. Maybe it’s time for ‘impatience is a virtue’ because then we would work faster and get more done in less time. When we work fast, we cannot afford distractions. Thus, we concentrate more and focus on the job at hand, which helps in producing better quality work. While driving, for instance, the faster I drive, the more I need to be aware of people and vehicles around, because I’m giving myself less reaction time in case something happens. This results in more accurate estimates of distances and speeds and fellow road-occupiers’ intentions. AKA better driving.

Why must we fight the busy, no-time-to-breathe lifestyles that we see people living? I do know many people who like it that way. And who are able to manage stress, if THAT’S what the fuss is all about. I myself like having a million things to do. I also know how to take appropriate breaks to fight the stress factor. I like to work hard and play hard. A time for everything and everything in its time.

clock-running Yet another advantage of my impatience is that I get down solving problems and dealing with issues MUCH faster than slower contemporaries. Patient individuals tend to hum and ho along the way, probably wishing for the obstacles to remove themselves. Although some might call this a far-fetched conclusion, I certainly feel that patience leads to inaction. Dealing with stuff faster leaves me more time to relax. Imagine finishing your work in half the time it usually takes, and then revelling in the bonus free time left to you! I should imagine that ‘bonus’ time soon becoming expected free time!

So, as long as impatience is not used as an excuse to validate sloppy work (that excuse won’t work because I’ve already established that impatience actually leads to work of higher quality), it’s very much an awesome trait to have. Enough of the fuss over patience. A new star is born!

Hmmm. So about giving this a title. I could label it ‘ramblings’ or ‘random thoughts’ or some such, but today, I think I would quite LIKE to have a point. So what can I call it? “Impatience IS a virtue.” Hmmm, could do. “Work faster, work better!” Not bad either. But maybe the first was better. What about taking the very dramatic sentence “A new star is born!” Too dramatic?? Well… Gosh, this is taking too long. I’m running out of patience. But hey, that’s cool, innit?!

The author is working in a research project at the Centre for Neural and Cognitive Studies, at the University of Hyderabad. She can be reached at

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