How To Be Patient In Life

When you stare at the second hand on a clock, does it go faster? Is there anything in the world you can actually do to make time go quicker? I’m not talking about how you pass time. I’m talking about the fact that you can’t speed up time. It’s impossible. And it’s the reason we all need to learn to be patient in life.

What are you in such a rush for anyway? Do yourself a favor and stop and smell the flowers. Literally. Stop. And smell. One f*cking flower. It’s all about being patient and allowing the world to spin around you. Because you can’t change the space-time continuum. So why are you always trying to?

Like when you keep changing lanes on the freeway. And then when you get to the tollbooth, the slow and steady cars you were avoiding are all there before you. Because they were patient. You? You sped by them, but then got caught up behind other cars. So you sped past them. But while you were starting and stopping, slow and steady was just being itself. And they beat you there.

This happens in life as well. How many stories have you heard of an employee that started at the bottom of a company and eventually rose to the top after several years? How many stories have you heard of the wunderkind who came out of nowhere to rise to the top of a company— only to fail in a blaze of glory months later?

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Without Complaint

The first definition of ‘patient’ according to Merriam-Webster is bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint. Think about that. How do we often recognize when someone is not being patient? They start to act like a complete jack*ss.

You know the guy. The one who ordered Starbucks via the app two minutes ago and saw a seven-minute done time, but is still tapping his toe and huffing and puffing because other drinks are being worked on. Is that you? Is your latte really more important than everyone else’s?

Listen, I’ve been there. I still go there sometimes. Until I realize that the rest of the world doesn’t operate on my request. Sure, some people aren’t good at their job and because of that, it causes us delays. Some people are really sh*tty drivers and they slow us down. But they don’t even know we’re there. Because they are busy dealing with their own sh*t.

You don’t have to be impatient. It’s a choice. You can do some quick meditation. You can keep listening to that podcast. You can watch a dog and squirrel best friends video. There are plenty of other better ways to spend your time than complaining.

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” — Joyce Meyer

Thinking Bigger

Those of us who are patient in life are thinking bigger. We are thinking about all the things in the universe that have to come together for just one bus to run on time. And when it doesn’t, we don’t melt down. Tires. People. Route. Traffic. Other cars. Weather. The rest of the world doesn’t work for you. It just is.

When you think bigger it becomes much easier to be patient. I get p*ssed off when my flight is delayed too. But then I think about how I am about to fly in the sky in a long tube with wings, with the Internet, that is way safer than a car to a destination it would take me a full week to drive to. I can wait 47 minutes.

What about being patient with people? We have no idea what is going on in some stranger’s life that day. Or in our child’s mind. They don’t want to make us late, but they have their own thing going on. And they aren’t always up for telling us about it. The employee spacing out when trying to find your pick-up order isn’t going to tell you they just found out that their mom is sick.

The. World. Doesn’t. Revolve. Around. You.

When You Are Late

Some people think that when they are running late they are entitled to some special privileges. They think it’s OK to be less patient. They expect more leeway to be an a**hat just because they have to be somewhere. But come on, the majority of lateness comes from bad decisions by that same person earlier.

They left too late. They didn’t account for potential traffic. They didn’t get ready on time. They didn’t wake up when they should have. They are inconsiderate of others. They have poor planning skills. Do you know this person? They show up 20 minutes late and immediately complain that their table isn’t ready?

When you are late, someone is being patient with you. Shouldn’t you be thanking them for that? Instead of blasting everyone along the way so you can get there on time. People understand complications when they are given notice and an explanation. The reason many chronically late people don’t give those things is because they are late because of themselves. And we remain patient with them.


If you aren’t capable of waiting patiently for something, do you really deserve it? So many people want that promotion, but they begin jockeying for it well before they are ready. Well before they have done the work necessary to achieve it.

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” — Jonas Salk

And what about patience in relationships? When you are impatient about love, you suffer. Because you can’t rush love. Patience is absolutely required to have a successful relationship. Because you can’t move the hands of time quicker. Just because you see each other a lot doesn’t mean your relationship of 3 months is “just like” one of 6 months. Sorry.

No one wants to give a reward to someone who has proven that they can’t wait for it.

How To Be Patient In Life

First, get over yourself. You’re not that important. Once you truly understand that this planet isn’t here to serve you, patience is a whole lot easier. Once you contemplate every single thing that has to go right just for something to happen each day, patience is required.

Patience is so often tied to ego. Thinking bigger allows us to restrict our temporary flare-ups and focus more on everything else. Thinking about others allows us to remove ourselves from the equation. And we are often our worst enemies.

Being patient is really simple. When you understand that nobody is capable of rushing time, there isn’t much of a reason to rush. Is it possible to get somewhere quicker? Sure, maybe. But there are still 100 other things that could go wrong when you choose a new route.

And the less patient we are, the more prone we are to mistakes. I would rather wait five more minutes and get a perfect meal than have a chef rush to get me an average one five minutes earlier. I would rather get in an hour later on a plane than fly with undisclosed mechanical complications.

Think a little bigger. Patience isn’t that hard.