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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

OPINION: Patience is a practice

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So often, we’re told to have patience and that everything will work itself out in due time. Though we’re constantly reminded to be patient, it doesn’t always come easily. We’re often in a hurry or ready to move on to the next thing before we’ve even finished the first. It’s time to practice the patience that is preached. The truth is patience is a skill, and like all skills, it needs to be practiced repeatedly in order to become a master at it. 

To understand how to practice patience, we must reflect on the age we live in. Recently, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and found a reel that told me to do nothing for 15 seconds. That may seem like a small amount of time, but for some reason, it was challenging to make it through without the thought of scrolling to the next post. Social media controls so much of our lives and has furthered our desire for instant gratification.  

“Most people want instant gratification,” according to Success Consciousness. “They want results now, but this is not always possible. They do not want to wait, and they do not want to invest time and effort.”  

A small example, but one we often see, is honking at traffic lights immediately. If the person before us doesn’t go right away, we get frustrated and honk our horns. Sometimes, it’s necessary after a few seconds, but I’ve seen people honk within the first second of the light turning green. 

Our society is fast-paced, and when we stop and do nothing for a bit, we feel like we’re missing out. But what if the best way to truly experience the fast-moving world is to be more patient? To slow down and let experiences come to us rather than hurrying through our days? Here are some activities that have helped me to improve my patience. 

Social media is one of the main obstacles in our battle for patience. To become more patient, we must make sacrifices, which may mean limiting social media use.  

According to Narayan Janakiraman, an assistant marketing professor at the University of Texas, Arlington, “The need for instant gratification is not new, but our expectation of ‘instant’ has become faster, and as a result, our patience is thinner.” 

In 2011 he did a study where the subjects had to wait for downloads and were kept on hold as they waited for help from a call center. Most of the subjects quit in the process of waiting. Technology has only accelerated our need for instant gratification. 

I know it’s difficult not to look at who responded to your post or check the newest Instagram reel, but even if we cut down our social media time a little each day, it can help alleviate our need for quick results. 

One of my favorite ways to practice patience is through meditation. While meditating, you take inventory of yourself and find parts of your life where you can show more patience and gratitude.  

“Additionally, you’ll find that meditation will increase your tolerance and patience for other people,” the EOC Institute explains. “Meditation involves deep self-reflection and increased self-awareness.”  

If you notice yourself struggling to show patience in a particular part of your life, try meditating instead of reaching for your phone. 

Fishing is another activity that improves my patience. When I started fishing, waiting for my bobber to go under the water was agonizing. I thought, “come on, fish, just bite already.” As I got older, I began to appreciate the satisfaction of catching a fish after waiting hours for a nibble. I enjoy the time spent watching ripples in the water. You must exercise patience in other parts of fishing as well. Setting up the rod can be an exercise in pure frustration. Putting that tiny fishing line through the eyes of the rod requires a steady hand that I don’t always have, causing me to rush through the process. It’s when I take a breath, calm down and take my time that I can do it successfully. 

Becoming a master of patience won’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t come easy for many, including myself. But it’s an ongoing process worthy of your time, because when you’re patient, you see the planet and the people on it in a better light. I’ve realized the journey is so much more gratifying than the outcome, and I only learned this when I started practicing patience. 

 

Jack Davis (he/him) is a freshman majoring in journalism. 

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