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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Impatience does not serve us well

I've spent a lot of time in traffic over the last couple of days and have encountered a number of unhelpful outcomes of impatience:
  • Frustration - I was getting very impatient with the guy in front of us this morning driving at 10 mph slower than I wanted to. My extra speed would have come to nothing once I got into this queue - and in that 5 mile stretch would normally only have saved me 2 minutes! 
  • Being delayed further - When faced with this queue this morning another guy in front of us turned round to take what we felt was a short cut (In the hope of coming out of a junction at a point 10 cars in front of us) - I smiled when we came out 5 cars behind us. 
  • Causing undue stress in others - Overtaking when there's insufficient space and time to do so safely.
  • Injury or worse - There's too many tributes along the side of the road - many I'm sure caused by actions arising from impatience.
Every week on the A9 here in Scotland there's reports of accidents, and at least monthly fatalities. It's a normal A road interspersed with dual carriage way. The hills are long, however, and as it's the main route north it has many lorries slowing down progress. There are multiple signs telling you how far till the next dual carriage way and there's lay-bys for lorries to pull over into too. Yet drivers still allow impatience to motivate unhelpful behaviours that might lead to any one, or all, of the list above.

I wonder what nature has to teach us about impatience?

During a coaching session in June, as we walked down this path, the client shared that they were frustrated with the speed with which things were progressing on a project they were working on.
I asked them to look around and consider how much of what they could see would have been here less than 8 weeks previously. The answer of course was very little of it. The bare trees and perhaps the grass. I'm sure the path ahead would have been illuminated with light from above and not covered in growth. If we'd come here every day for every one of those 8 weeks I'm not we'd have seen much difference each day. Yet within that time so much would have changed.

Next time you get impatient try remembering the outcome you're wishing to achieve and realise you're still headed towards it - many of the behaviours I've seen demonstrated on my travels recently may just stop you achieving your outcome at all!

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

Blog 5/31 for the ultimate blog challenge in July.

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