/ ON THE FRONTLINE
I Want Patience and I Want It Now By Cindy Campbell
’VE NEVER BEEN VERY GOOD AT WAITING. Waiting at the doctor’s office, waiting in line at Starbucks,
waiting for the car in front of me to GO ALREADY at the green light. I have been the impatience poster child for most of my adult life. This was my reality—until I learned that my impatience could literally bring about my demise. spective makes me seriously reconsider my impatient ways.
Trained to be Impatient The challenge here is that as humans, we’re designed to be impatient from the moment we arrive. Babies instinctively communicate their immediate needs for food and comfort. As we started to grow, most of us were told that patience is a virtue, yet few of us were taught how to actually become more patient. This predisposition for impatient reactions continues throughout our lives—unless we learn to recognize and interrupt it. Here’s the good news: We have the capability to become more patient, but it takes discipline and lots of practice. How is this relevant to you as a professional? I’m sharing all of this because the ill effect of impatience can directly affect our level of happiness, both personally and professionally. Is your impatience influencing others in ways you hadn’t considered? If you knew you could choose to feel less stress and improve your health and the quality of your relationships, would
you do it? Of course you would. As the saying goes, the first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one. In this case, I’m suggesting recognition has two components. 1. Recognizing the negative effects of impatience in your life. The nature of our work often presents us with opportunities to react with impatience. When we’re stressed, irritated, or upset, we tend to be less productive. In addition, our body releases a stress hormone that interferes with our ability to perform simple tasks. Take the concept I started with—waiting. In life, we all encounter the waiting game, but few of us feel at ease when we’re unexpectedly delayed or asked to wait for long periods of time. Waiting can make us feel resentful and anxious, as if others are in control of us. Think about it—this may be what our customers experience as they wait on hold for our assistance. While perception isn’t always reality, I think it’s safe to say that none of us want to feel controlled by others. DAMIR KHABIROV / STOCK.ADOBE.COM
There’s science behind this statement. Dr. Ahmed Sood with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has devoted much of his career to researching impatience and the negative effects it can have on our health and happiness. Sood and his colleagues have determined there is a direct correlation between our quality of life and how we react to the variety of stressors we encounter. A few notable findings from his research: ■ Stress is a negative emotion related to impatience. ■ An episode of explosive anger, significant stress, or impatience can increase your risk of heart attack and sudden death by two to eightfold for the next few hours. ■ Impatience, or a lack of patience, can have a long-term effect on your DNA. ■ The only thing that gets faster with impatience is aging. And finally, consider this impactful quote from Sood: “Impatience is not simply the opposite of patience, rather, the absence of patience brings us anxiety, illness, injury, loneliness—and even death.” I don’t know about you, but that per-
14 PARKING & MOBILITY / JULY 2021 / PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG