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Patience - the hardest virtue

I started this post some time ago and I simply stopped after reading some interesting articles and papers about relevant and related topics. I wasn´t in a rush. Neither do I feel, that I have to hurry with this blog. Of course I have my moments of eagerness. But my basic intention to create this platform was to give people and myself a creative space to write, whenever we feel ready. I guess, for this post I also needed a day, on which I have nothing planned, no expectations and no rush to be anywhere at all. And it feels good and right. So let´s get going...

Short digression: A virtue is a positive value or potency, an admirable characteristic and, lets be honest, sometimes some sort of superpower. So it is something good that can enhance your personal qualities and make you grow in a positive way, so it is good and healthy for you to aquire some virtues.

What is the motivation behind patience?

For me, there are two reasons for patience. The first one is the most obvious one. It is love, sounds cheesy, but this time I also include the chemical reaction occuring, when we meet things we consider as cute or valuable. Like babies, or kitten, or dolphins. We automatically assign an intrinsic value to certain things and events that we are in touch with. Somehow, we will make much space, energy and time available for exactly these, and we will not expect anything in return, as the positive feelings we experience are enough motivation.

The other reason is a bit more complex. This time we are planning and bargaining with ourselves. We have expectations, that, if we remain patient for long enough, something will come back in return, which might have a higher value, than the original energy we used to initiate it. Sometimes we even give more than we have, we might be suffering for something or someone. Just because we are certain, that it will pay off and that the final revenue will be outdo our temporary misery or efforts. This is denoted with the term reciprokal altruism. This behavior is part of a collection of collaborative traits which help different animal species and humans to stay alive and increase their fitness. [1, 2]

Why is it good to be patient sometimes?

There are plenty of stories, quotes, historical moments and similar, at which patience was the key to a bunch of success, or wellbeing, or even enlightment - just think about some of the central people in our world religions and philosophies.

There are several arguments speaking for more patience. First of all it is crucial, for our own sake, to slow down sometimes. Todays daily life is filled up with work and other projects where speed remains a main aspect for development. Never before was our own wellbeing and stressreduction more important to people in general. Patience helps slowing down your life and enjoying single moments much more.

Being patient makes you more carefull with choices, maybe even smarter. You take your time to consider decisions, which might prevent you from taking large steps into the wrong direction. It will also help the people around, as you might reduce their level of stress by having rather calm vibes. Also, you won´t expect them to suit your own schedule and this definitley can improve your personal relationships.

Patience will simply make you more resilient. You learn, how some things can´t be changed, no matter what. Once you get over this fact, you are able to withstand many other incidents.

Sometimes it is time that makes the effort and the outcome of certain events even better. You plant a seed and with some patientce you will harvest something good later on, that is much bigger than your original seed. If you rush you might trample the result, so just let it be and let it grow.

And finally, consider, things that change very fast are rather shocking. Because we already intuitively know, that we cant expect large things to happen over night. You also dont want bad things to pop up this fast, so why would it be different with positive events? Neither do we want great moments to be over this fast, so maybe it is more bareable to wait for them, to make sure our luck lasts.

What does it take to become more patient?

Here some of my thoughts on how to become more patient

  • Just consider: maybe you weren´t ready before the exact moment your wish comes true, it helps

  • Remember what your vision is, and your motive for making the effort, it will keep moving

  • Try to be patient at daily occasions, which are not too important, maybe waiting in a line at a cafe or for the bus. Once you overcome these, you are ready for big goals because patience itself doesn´t require more effort just because your wish is greater. Why? Because time always moves in the same speed.

  • When you feel the impatient coming, go inside yourself and aks yourself, if this helps or if the situation really needs this type of drama. You might be surprised about your own clear judgement.

Keep going and the payoff will be higher than you probably have imagined in the first place. Don´t always think short term, let your dreams become a long term project and eventually, step by step, a little becomes a lot and things you wouldn´t have dared in the beginning suddenly start to move in your realms of possibilities.


© Coverimage: Own picture

© First Picture: Unsplash


[1] West, S. A., Griffin, A. S., & Gardner, A. (2007). Social semantics: altruism, cooperation, mutualism, strong reciprocity and group selection. Journal of evolutionary biology, 20(2), 415-432.

[2] Curry, O. S., Price, M. E., & Price, J. G. (2008). Patience is a virtue: Cooperative people have lower discount rates. Personality and individual differences, 44(3), 780-785.

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