Impatience and irritability are common reactions to impediments hindering day-to-day tasks. But how can you stay calm and in control in the face of frustration and nervousness?
Driving out very early because one has to meet up with the accumulated tasks in the office and running into dead traffic is frustrating.
Exercising patience in such a situation would be a feat by the average human considering how we have grown so impatience and irritable in the fast-paced internet and social media age.
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Studies and medicine have shown that patience and irritability are bad precedence for stress which in turn gradually erode happiness and make life miserable.
For a clear idea what patience and irritability are, lets take a dive into their meanings.
What are impatience and irritability?
Impatience is lack of patience and a state of hurriedness that makes one become restless and at the mercy of volatile temper.
A lot of factors can conjure impatience which we are going to look into down this post.
Irritability on the other hand is a tendency to be easily annoyed. An irritable person is so bitter they almost everything annoys them.
Irritability goes hand in hand with impatience as it is one of the physical manifestations of emotional hijacking, an indication that you are not in control.
Both manifests as anger, intolerance, aggression, quick temper and other negative emotions unbecoming of a sound person.
Patience is a skill that is necessary both for good mental health and social competence. Lacking in patience sets one up for all the worries that abound in the present day society.
Too many have developed impatience over the years and have slipped down the slippery slope of worrying that it has become a habit.
I mean, people now have impatience and irritability as habits.
In the quest to describe impatience and irritability, we might impatiently mistake or mislabel some occurrences in our daily lives.
Impatience and irritability, not a sense of urgency
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.According to Navy Seals
Impatience is very different from a sense of urgency. Moving with incredible urgency is is not same as hastily rushing.
You are not thoughtful when you rush and you leave important things behind, creating an inconsistent pace, and are prone to mistakes which makes the situation even worse.
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But when you have clear thoughts and control of your actions, things move smoothly, which in turn translates to getting things done in time because there are fewer mistakes or errors along the way.
Exercising a sense of urgency requires good judgment and composure and is not impatience as long as the situation calls for it. The bridge to success is knowing when a specific deadline or goal should be met.
Leaders who are experienced understand the distinction between impatience and urgency and approach situations wisely.
They know that unmet deadlines can cause systemic failure for an organization and compromise future success.
However, when every single solution is driven by urgency, making impatience a tool for delivering solutions, then there is no competence in place and the organization would experience the consequences of disorganization.
Why are humans more irritable and impatient?
Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein observed that humans now demand immediate satisfaction in most things and expect quick responses according to the way they want it. When this does not happen, there is frustration and irritability which are results of impatience.
The quest for instant results is not peculiar to technology and digital communication. The ability to wait in line, traffic, and give long ropes in other areas of life is gradually being lost.
For instance, the little time it takes for a computer to boot, and for the traffic light to turn green seems like an eternity to some modern humans.
It is also observed that people hardly read through lengthy texts in print because they prefer video contents, quickly skimming through web pages, from bullet to bullet, seeking the best content for their needs.
It’s hard, however, to have all the answers regarding the causes of impatience, but there seems to be strong evidence that it is becoming prevalent and can’t be ignored.
Here are some observable causes of impatience and irritability:
- Instant gratification
- Congenital impatience and irritability
- Societal way of life
- Unrealistic prospects
1. Instant gratification
Instant gratification is the foremost reason people are impatient. We live in s society where people want certain things now and very fast.
No patience to wait for a while, and when they do, it is riddled with discomfort and complaints, hisses here and there.
People would rather get a house quickly than waiting to get home later. They play now and pay later instead of paying now and playing later.
Teenagers want to start driving and get a car all of a sudden. In these times, people would rather have whatever they want immediately than wait for time to bring their desires naturally.
This kind of impatience makes people to rush into decisions they regret later because much thought, caution, and inventory were not taken.
2. Congenital impatience and irritability
Some people are congenitally impatient and irritable. This means that these two negative traits are part of their lives and they are naturally comfortable being that way.
This kind of impatience though can be changed with time but it’s a deep-rooted behavior with its roots probably in the gene.
Such people get more irritable with age and tend to force or rush others into their situation to meet goals. Most times their rashness leads to unnecessary stress and mistakes that would have been otherwise avoided.
3. Societal way of life
Just like some societies or people are known for cleanliness or tidiness. Some have evolved to be hasty and impatient and this is not a problem for everyone.
However, it could pose a problem to a stranger who can find it difficult to blend.
For instance, in developed countries like the United States, the workspace is very fast-paced. Productivity is all that is needed as the competition is fierce with managers and supervisors mounting pressure on employees and wanting more done in less time.
This makes people have breakfasts on their way to work, miss meals and have less time with family. Majority don’t have a time of theirs as they are mostly impatient trying to meet up with tasks.
A burdened mind is an irritable mind. Modern life has challenges that have made it stressful for the average person to cope properly.
It is even worse in developing countries like Nigeria where the majority spend their lives looking for the most basic necessities of life like working for food and house rent.
Such a human is bound to be impatient, irritable, and abrasive since they are constantly under pressure.
Impatience lives where there are multiple tasks waiting to be attended to in a short possible time, especially when a superior is applying pressure.
Another angle is when there is many bills to be cleared and one has to make haste to meet the numerous needs.
I have always questioned why humanity can’t pause for once and ask why they are so much in a hurry for everything.
That is how lives have been made to be for humans and it is affecting everything, including the quality of life, the time spent with loved ones and hobbies.
5. Unrealistic prospects
There are people who go all the way to have unrealistic desires and propel themselves beyond the normal to achieve them..
Having lofty desires is not bad, but forcing it, by all means, has been the bane of man right from time.
Any man who desperately beckons on things he normally is not fit to have is exercising impatience and it would lead him to employ different unwholesome acts to reach that goal.
Many people hardly accept the reality which at the same time elevates the level of impatience.
Some people who find themselves in the traffic know they can’t escape it unless they either break the law or take risks.
Some people would nevertheless go ahead to break the law and in the course of that have accidents or pay unscheduled fines for their irresponsibility.
Technology has been identified by researchers and analysts as the foremost culprit for impatience and irritability.
Technology, especially as it concerns cellphones, emails, instant messaging, iPods, cameras, etc have changed the lives of humans and it is going to be worse.
This is because more breathtaking technologies are in the offing as technology will soon replace nearly everything for humans including shopping, work, labour, banking, etc.
Man is constantly conditioned to the “I want it now” syndrome as most technologies make things easy and quick and so, the insatiable human is demanding more.
In the 90s and early 2000 when webs were much slower, people were patient enough to wait for pages that could take ages to load and display, but not anymore.
People now can’t wait 5 seconds to abandon a website for another if it takes time to load.
This is also corroborated by Google as site owners who run AdSense are advised to optimize their websites to be user-friendly by making them fast enough to reduce bounce rates.
Consequences of impatience and irritability
It is normal to become impatient occasionally for the right reasons, but being helplessly impatient that it becomes an everyday occurrence has its consequences.
Below are some of the consequences of impatience in our fast-paced world.
Many accidents have been caused by motorists who thought that the vehicle in their front was driving too slowly and tried to make dangerous overtaking.
We see this kind of impatience on regular basis and how they are penalized by law enforcers or run themselves and others into accidents.
After college, I had the opportunity to work in a factory full of machines with sharp moving parts that required care and patience to operate.
In my three years in the company, three people had accidents that made them lose limbs.
They were not patient to let the machine run its preset cycle as they tried to manipulate it to exceed the target.
Impatience makes one not to put everything into consideration or miss some things that are vital for success which often leads to dangerous situations.
Impatience and frustration are linked with both anger and irritability. Such emotions can shoot up the stress level which can be detrimental to health.
It was pointed out in a recent study by North Wester Medicine that impatience is a risk factor for hypertension not just for the elderly but also for young adults.
Another study reveals that impatience is linked with obesity. The researchers concluded that individuals who are impatient are more likely to suffer obesity than people who are always more relaxed while waiting.
In some developed cities, people seldom cook organically because they lack the patience to cook and also because of inexpensive processed foods which are available at all times of the day. This takes a toll on their health in the long run.
A study conducted by the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research observed that people who are impatient are more likely to defer tasks.
It could be that they feel intimidated by time-consuming tasks that they keep postponing tasks because of a lack of patience to complete them.
The tendency at any rate to postpone can have a damaging effect on the procrastinator and the economy. According to a British researcher, Ernesto Reuben “procrastination undoubtedly affects our productivity and can cause us immense amounts of money as impatient people postpone works indefinitely”.
High blood pressure
Impatience and lack of gratification with the accompanying disappointment can predispose a person to develop high blood pressure.
Oftentimes, disappointments and dissatisfaction are products of impatience due to unrealistic expectations.
Also, high-stress levels that are heightened by how overwhelmed and helpless they feel due to their inpatient and anxious nature can trigger hypertension.
It is always good to keep expectations low even though we desire more. It is somewhat a bulwark to heartbreaks and disappointments which precedes high blood pressure.
Patience is a virtue and it can preserve life longer than usual, a new study observed. Mind-blowing new research has shown that impatient persons are liable to age prematurely and the “I want it now” syndrome is a culprit.
The feeling of impatience has an effect on the telomeres which are DNA protective structures from deterioration.
When these structures are weakened, the breakdown of the DNA is imminent and quick which ushers in aging. People who are impatient tend to have short and weaker telomeres.
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Another result published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science opined that by looking at the genetic markers that have links with the aging of cells, they found that the impatient people face much risk of biological decline than the easy-going people.
1,160 volunteers were used to conduct the study to measure their patient-level before a genetic analysis of their blood cells was observed to determine the length of their telomeres.
Violence and alcohol
Impatience has led to more unnecessary violence than needed and when alcohol is involved, it is even worse.
The majority of the impatient people are quick to anger which almost always culminates in violence.
A British Newspaper, South Wales Echo reported that people that are impatient are very likely to have a late-night drink of violence.
This position was also established by Cardiff University researchers after studying hundreds of people.
The research revealed that impatient people were more likely to indulge in alcohol so much that they are prone to violence.
Poor and shallow judgment
Poor judgment sometimes is a product of impatience which mostly end in tears. Excitement and overconfidence are maskers of good judgment and at the same time trigger impatience which will make someone leave out important details in a task and delivers a bad job.
Analysts from the Pew Research Centre in Washington DC also observed that people who are impatient and irritable make sudden, shallow choices that are detrimental.
The professor and head of the Department of Social Work resident at the Bharathidasan University of India concluded the same.
In his explanation, he says implied that impatience will cost you money, friendships, suffering, pain, and other consequences as it culminates into bad decisions.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, USA, impatience plays a role in high debt levels in the lives of newlyweds who want to have all the comforts of a home in one swoop after the wedding in the absence of substantial finances.
Newlyweds who buy a house with furniture and a car including everything else on credit as a result of impatience can hurt their marriage and plunge themselves into perpetual debt if things do not turn out the way they expect.
People who bring less debt into a new marriage are happier and start off without the burden of debt hanging on their shoulders which erodes the beautiful euphoria of a new life.
It is not peculiar to individuals, institutions, and governments who hastily make financial decisions without proper inventory to run into financial woes as a result.
Loss of friends
Our ability to communicate can be truncated by being impatient, especially on friendship levels.
When people do not have the patience to engage in small talks and quality conversations, they tend to hastily speak thoughtlessly and hurt or annoy the other party.
He may also be hurt when others speak and feel attacked. Such a person may not have the patience to hear people out and get all the points and probably rush them into ending their sentences.
When this kind of attitude is done repeatedly, the discomfort it causes will accumulate and make the other party take the decision of avoidance.
Who wants to be with someone who is not patient and is always in a hurry? Impatience is a turnoff for some in friendship and drives friends away.
How to avoid the consequences of impatience and irritability
It might not be in our control to manually turn the button of impatience off. It has to do with emotions and feelings and requires high consciousness to deal with.
That is why emotional intelligence is necessary for every area of life. Emotionally intelligent people can easily control their impatience and stabilize their irritability.
Below are steps to take to control impatience and enjoy all the benefits therein.
1. Identify why you are impatient
The key to solving any kind of problem is becoming aware and identifying that there is a problem.
This has to be a conscious and deliberate approach because it requires thoughtfulness to further identify the cause.
Identifying the triggers of your impatience can come in the way of tracking the situations or times when you unconsciously yell or do other things associated with impatience.
The triggers could be time-related, could be kids, friends, mates, parents, or your spending pattern.
Some people lose their patience when they are stressed, sleepy, tired or hungry irrespective of if they are at home or at work. Identifying and leaning into it is first to step to tackling it.
A popular saying from the manual of life attributes a saying to King Solomon – “Sensible people foresee trouble and run away from it, but the gullible go ahead and suffer the consequence.”
What this means is that you can actually avoid situations that trigger your impatience or have good control over it as long as you are aware of its presence.
Initially, it could be a hard task, but with constant mental practice, it becomes a way of life.
Make your life simple
The brain is limited in sustaining multitasking. In fact, multitasking tasks the brain uncomfortably and lowers accuracy, the ability to focus, and pay close attention, and eventually eats away at patience, problem-solving, and productivity.
Professor Noreen Herzfeld, a professor in Computer Science at Saint John’s University, Minnesota, USA can confirm that people really can’t multitask. It’s hard for the brain to concentrate on several things at the same time on the conscious level.
Maintaining patience is difficult when one is stressed out from attending to too many tasks, having too many places to be, and having a lot of people to stay in touch with.
All of these put uncomfortable pressure on stress which is a primary source of impatience and irritability.
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My advice is, to make out time to relax, and do nothing apart from enjoying life. That is why vacation is there, though it’s bundled into a stretch of time.
It would have been better if vacation is interspaced into bits of days when people take time off work to relax and do things they love and desire away from work.
Budget your time, make out time for quality friendship, set meaningful priorities, and beware of shallow friendships and hobbies, and gadgets that waste time.
Be realistic and avoid the pangs of impatience and irritability.
In real life, things are far away from your wishes and do not happen as quickly as you desire. Accepting the fact that there is nothing you can do in some situations is good for mental health.
Accept the fact that time moves at its speed and not by your own wishful thinking or expectations. That is patience at work.
There are numerous circumstances you cannot control as a human and so must wait for time to do its thing.
Know that the wisest of men does not always get all they earns, nor does the fastest runner always win the race.
The smartest do not always become wealthy and the educated do not always get the employment he deserves. Just as the strongest army does not always win the battle.
Rather than getting bitter and angry over a delayed salary, missed the train, or loss of job, try to always have alternatives and expect the worst. By so doing, you won’t be overwhelmed by the outcome.
When you lean in on your problems, you form a protective shield against emotional breakdown that triggers impatience and its attendant different manifestations which are rather abrasive.
At a time, bad things happen to everyone. So be easygoing.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A Personal Development Content Creator and an author. I write about life ethics and love to document and share life hacks and experiences of people to help others make good life decisions.
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