If I had to identify one thing as one of my biggest flaws, it’d be impatience. And it’s not like I’m going to go off on one about being in traffic for twenty minutes, or because a salesperson is taking a while to find a pair of shoes in the right size – it’s more a sort of long-term impatience.
You see, I have a habit of setting myself very long-term goals. Writing books, for one. Learning things. Completing a degree. That sort of stuff. And my issue is that, all too often, I get frustrated by the length of time it takes for me to complete that goal. That’s not to say I’m not willing to put in the work – I am – just, I always feel like I ought to be able to do things sooner. I can focus too much on the end goal and not what you learn on the way there.
Honestly, I’ve been like that my entire life. I was always ahead of the game when it came to learning to handwrite and spell as a small child, because I was fascinated by it all, but I have anecdotes from my parents of two- or three-year-old me, however old I was at the time, getting frustrated and teary at not being able to hold a pencil properly, or not being able to write a certain word correctly.
Later, at age six, I saw an advert on TV for the Keane album Hopes and Fears, and decided I wanted to learn to play the piano. I started lessons shortly after my seventh birthday, and sure enough, I would get really frustrated when I didn’t pick something up immediately. Even still, 13 years later, I find myself getting irritated with myself if I can’t figure out how to play something almost immediately.
And it’s the same with things where the length of time a task takes to complete isn’t up to me. GCSEs, A Levels, and my degree, for example. I don’t know what it is – I guess I’m just always looking to the next thing, and that makes me slightly impatient for the current thing to end. Which makes zero sense, by the way, because I actually enjoy my degree. I like working for it, I like the topics, I love learning what I’m learning – but I still find myself, from time to time, getting a little impatient at the length of time it takes.
It’s something I’ve been aware of about myself for a long time. I should be able to concentrate more on what’s now, and focus on being able to enjoy the time things take. I’d say I’m definitely better at coping with my impatience now than I was when I was, say, ten (though if I wasn’t, that would probably be cause for concern), but I’ve probably still got a way to go.
Do you find yourself getting impatient the way I do? What do you do to combat it?