STRONGER TOGETHER: The lost art of patience

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Last updated: 21/08/2023

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses patience.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Mother Teresa said, "Without patience, we miss out on learning, seeing, feeling, and hearing. Funny thing is, rushing often leads to getting less." Her wisdom deeply resonates with me and has caused me to think about patience on a deeper level.

We live in a world dominated by rapid-fire updates, endless options, and the allure of instant gratification; the once-cherished virtue of patience seems to have faded into obscurity. Let's face it, in today's turbocharged life, patience feels like an endangered species. We're all about "now, now, now," and taking a breather? That's so last season. As I reflect on this, I'm drawn to the teachings of the Stoics, who were all about living a balanced life – something our modern lifestyle has left behind.

The Stoics, those wise ancient Greeks, embraced a philosophy of virtuous living and moderation—a stark contrast to the prevailing excesses of our times. They sagely declared, "Nothing is ever enough when you are always wanting more," a sentiment that resonates more than ever in our age of unquenchable desires. In this era of constant connectivity, our attention is hijacked by digital distractions, our aspirations manipulated by the algorithms of social media. We're lured into a relentless cycle of comparison and consumption, entrapped by the notion that greatness can be instantly achieved, and that success and fulfilment is just a click away.

Consider the relentless march of self-proclaimed "influencers" hawking their shortcuts to stardom. It's as if we're willing to exchange our authentic selves for the hollow promise of fame and influence. This impatience-driven pursuit erodes our very essence, leaving us one-dimensional and susceptible to a crisis of identity.

The consequences of impatience ripple through our lives. It sows the seeds of burnout, anxiety, and disillusionment. We grapple with depression and resentment when our hasty actions yield unsatisfactory outcomes. We become prisoners of our own unrealistic expectations, perpetuating a cycle of discontent.

Yet, there is a remedy—a revival of patience as a deliberate, cultivated art. Consider these pillars on the path to patience:

Realism: Cast aside the allure of instant solutions. Embrace a pragmatic assessment of your goals, acknowledging the time investment required for genuine progress.

Deliberate Planning: Craft a comprehensive blueprint for your aspirations. Endeavor to map out a strategic route toward your goals, allowing the journey to unfold organically.

Reflection: Regular introspection serves as a compass for the journey. Celebrate milestones, pivot when needed, and recalibrate your course as you progress.

Gratitude: Incorporate a daily practice of gratitude. By anchoring your perspective in the present, you mitigate the restlessness that impatience often fosters.

Joyful Engagement: Infuse each day with activities that bring joy. Strive to strike a balance between ambition and contentment, nurturing a harmonious existence.

Seeking Guidance: There's strength in asking for help. Mentors, peers, and professionals can offer invaluable insights and help you find your way.

Proactivity: Cultivate a proactive mindset. Regularly contribute efforts that inch you closer to your objectives.

Mindful Rest: Acknowledge the merit of strategic breaks. Temporarily stepping away can yield a fresh perspective, enhancing your ability to navigate challenges.

Mother Teresa's words led me to reflect on my own life and what I can do to be more patient. I urge you to pause and consider where in your own life can the art of patience unlock doors and bring more fulfilment. In our relentless pursuit of success, may we find solace in the measured rhythm of patience, sculpting a life of purpose and grace.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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