How to be patient? 5 proven ways to develop your patience

How to be patient? 5 proven ways to develop your patience

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”


Being patient is the ability to accept or tolerate waiting, difficulty or dissatisfaction without getting angry or upset.

It is a quality that makes our daily lives more pleasant and less stressful. It is thanks to her that we are able to keep our calm when we are stuck in traffic, when we are queuing at the supermarket checkout, when our computer is idling…

But beyond helping us to better live with these small annoyances of everyday life, patience allows us to achieve profound transformations in our lives. It is a virtue we need to create things for the long term, to achieve our goals and to become good at a discipline.

“Be patient, building a career in anything takes 10 years”


Only being patient is difficult. Especially today in a world where we want everything right away.

So why do we lack patience? What are the benefits of being? And how to be patient?

This is what we will see in this article.

Why do we lack patience?

My wife is impatient. She gets angry very quickly when she can’t find her keys or when she waits too long at the restaurant. On the other hand, she is ready to queue for 5 or 6 hours to see a Lady Gaga or Muse concert.

Personally I am a rather patient person but I will never queue for so long even for my favorite artists. On the other hand, I remain relatively calm when I lose my keys or when the restaurant waiter is late in coming.

When it comes to patience, we are all different. Some things that make us impatient don’t necessarily make others impatient and vice versa.

Even though we are all different, there are still 4 main reasons why we lack patience.

We lack patience when our expectations are unmet

It’s often when things don’t go the way you want that you get impatient.

When our appointment arrives 1 hour late. We are impatient because we expected our appointment to be on time but things don’t go as planned.

When you’re stuck in traffic, you get impatient because you expected to get to work quickly but you get stuck on the road.

When you invest a lot in a project for several months and the results are not there, you get impatient because you want to progress faster.

In short, when you expect something and it does not go as you imagined, it is in these moments that you become impatient.

We lack patience when we are bored

Remember in school, when you sat listening to the teacher talk for hours? You looked at the clock and every minute seemed like an eternity. You couldn’t wait for the bell to ring so you could finally go play outside.

It’s because you were bored that you couldn’t wait for class to end. If instead of taking this course, you had done something you were passionate about, you wouldn’t have looked at the clock once. And you wouldn’t have felt that endless wait.

Being bored is another way of saying that we are having an unpleasant time. And like any unpleasant moment, we want it to end as soon as possible. This was true when we were in school, but it is also true today when we are in a meeting, when we are waiting at the doctor’s or when we are waiting in line at the post office.

In fact, whenever we are forced to wait and therefore get bored, that is often where we lose patience.

We lack patience when we are stressed

Imagine, you have a flight to catch in 1 hour and you are late to go to the airport. A few kilometers from arriving, you find yourself stuck in traffic.

In this situation you may be patient by nature, there is a good chance that stress will take over and you will lose your cool.

When we are stressed, we lose patience. We want things to go faster. Because we tell ourselves that the faster things go, the faster we can free ourselves from our stress. Stress feeds our impatience.

We lack patience because we have learned to be impatient

Finally, the last great source of impatience is deeper because it comes from our education.

A person who is impatient by nature is often someone who was taught to be impatient by their parents. It was because her parents were impatient that she later became one.

A child very often unconsciously reproduces the behavior of his parents. It is often for this reason that as we grow up we find in us some of the character traits of our parents. And impatience is no exception. If your parents were impatient when you were growing up, chances are you are too now.

Why be patient?

Patience turns talent into achievement

If you have a special talent today but lack patience, you will never be able to turn it into an accomplishment. That is to say, you will be unable to wait the time necessary to make something big out of it.

Accomplishment requires years of work. Without patience, you will not be able to overcome the difficulties that this presents.

All the people you admire today certainly had a talent at their base. They were by nature creative, innovative, intelligent… but if they are there today, it is thanks to their patience.

Beyoncé, for example, certainly had a beautiful voice at the base, but it was her work and her patience that allowed her to reveal her talent.

Elon Musk was a child prodigy. He was certainly born with an exceptional intelligence but it is his patience that has allowed him to create all his projects in recent years.

We often only see talent and accomplishment and we tend to forget about patience. Yet this virtue is just as important for success.

Being patient allows you to do a good job

I had the chance to work on many projects in recent years: creation of an agency, construction of 5 blogs, publication of a book on anxiety, writing of comics…

And during each of these projects I was confronted with my impatience. And sometimes I admit that she pushed me to neglect my work.

After writing the first 4 chapters of my book, for example, I was tempted to go faster on the following ones. To rely on fewer references, to do less research. Because I wanted to go fast. I couldn’t wait to see my book finally published.

Only I lost sight of the fact that the primary goal was not to publish a book but to produce something that would interest people.

Sometimes impatience pushes us to want to go too fast, to rush our work, to deliver something half finished. This is where patience comes into its own. It’s what helps us take the time to do things right and produce our best work.

Being patient improves our relationship with others

Patience helps us to be calmer, to understand others and to consider their feelings and their point of view. It also helps to create an environment of trust.

When we are impatient, we lose our temper more easily. And that can sometimes cause us to say or do hurtful things.

I will always remember a math teacher I had in school. He was very impatient. At the beginning of the year he told us that in his class we should not hesitate to ask him questions if we did not understand.

So one day I raised my hand to ask him a question because I couldn’t understand one of the math formulas on the board. He re-explained it to me once. I still did not understand and asked him the same question. He got angry telling me that we had to follow and that he couldn’t stop every 5 minutes to explain such a simple concept.

After that, I never dared to raise my hand again in his class even when I didn’t understand. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in the class.

If this teacher had been more patient, he would have explained to me again more calmly or asked me to come and see him at the end of the lesson so that he could take the time to explain to me. And I could have finally understood this mathematical formula.

Being patient is that too. It is taking the time to help others, which obviously improves our relationship with them.

Being patient helps us decide better

Taking the time to reflect is important to make the right decisions. When we are impatient, we want to go too fast. Decisions are made out of emotion. Because we are angry, stressed or disappointed, we make bad choices.

I do this every day with my clients. I offer marketing services and companies come to see me so that I can manage their advertising on Facebook and Google.

Some expect that in 2 weeks, these advertisements will make their business take off. What they forget is that creating successful ads is like everything, it takes time. You have to find the right message, the right target, create the right tunnel…

So naturally when after 2 weeks they realize that it will take longer than they thought, they decide to stop everything. It’s a shame because they miss out on great long-term results.

With experience, I now recognize this type of client and prefer to warn them before even signing the contract. It saves time for everyone.

When we make decisions, we must therefore be patient so as not to make hasty choices.

How to be patient?

There are several techniques for learning to be patient.

There are techniques that apply hot. These techniques make it possible to reduce the pressure, when we feel the impatience rising in us. And then there are other techniques that are intended to develop our patience over the long term. They help us to work on ourselves and to reinforce this virtue in us.

Let’s see these techniques right now.

take breaths

Impatience is primarily a physical reaction. When one is impatient one or more of these reactions occur:

  • Our heart rate increases
  • We’re running out of steam
  • Our muscles tense
  • We tense up

A good way to release all that pressure in the moment is to breathe. By breathing we relax and we become calmer and more serene.

For this you can inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 8 and do this as many times as necessary. We then quickly notice that our heart rate slows down and that our muscles relax. We are also better able to distance ourselves from the situation. 3

Create a break

The other day I was waiting on the platform of the Paris metro at rush hour. It was the start of the school year so as much to say that there were a lot of people. And to make matters worse, the subways were running slowly because there had been a passenger discomfort at a station.

All the conditions were met to be impatient.

Looking around me, I saw people with tense faces, sighing, stamping their feet and growing impatient…

And then in all this chaos, the RATP (the Paris metro) sends an automatic message:

“The RATP wishes you an excellent return to school and a very good day!”

The message was so out of step with the chaotic situation that it was ironic. Besides, it did not fail to make a few people laugh who a few minutes earlier were tense and tense.

Unintentionally, the post had actually created a disruption in people’s behavior. They went in a few seconds from a feeling of impatience to a feeling of fun.

Creating an interruption is the fastest way to kill impatience. And the best way to create those interruptions is to use humor.

So if we notice that we are getting impatient, we can try to break this feeling with something that amuses us or makes us feel good. Listen to a podcast that relaxes us, focus on something that makes us laugh or something that gives us happiness.

By shifting our focus to something other than our impatience, we immediately find more calm and serenity.

Redefine your expectations

We lose patience when what happens in reality does not meet our expectations. And the problem is all the more real when our expectations are unrealistic.

If you start a business, for example, and you imagine making €5,000,000 in turnover in the first year when you have no experience and no contacts, there is a good chance that the we are disappointed with our results. And this disappointment will fuel our impatience.

To avoid being disappointed and therefore impatient, we must redefine our expectations. That is to say, set objectives that are certainly ambitious but above all realistic.

Instead of setting a turnover of $5,000,000 in the first year, why not try $100,000 already? We are more likely to achieve this objective and therefore more likely to meet our expectations.

In short, if we notice that we are getting impatient, we must see if our expectations are realistic and if not, redefine them.

Recognize triggers

We saw a little earlier that we are all different when it comes to impatience. What triggers impatience in one person will not necessarily trigger it in another and vice versa. It is therefore important to know what triggers impatience in us to be able to better anticipate it.

For that, we have to think back to the last times we were impatient. What was the source of our impatience? Was it a late meeting? A traffic jam ? A task that took us longer than expected?

It must then be noted in a notebook or an application. Thus we will be able to better recognize these situations in the future and act accordingly.

Practice mindfulness

In a study from the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Rachel Razza explains how practicing mindfulness can help children become more patient.

During a 6-month program called YogaKids, the teacher had children in kindergarten classes do mindfulness exercises for about 10-30 minutes each day. After 6 months, the children were much calmer and more patient.4

This experience proves that practicing mindfulness is an effective way to develop our patience.

To practice mindfulness, here are some exercise ideas that you can do:

  • Pay attention to our breathing: We sit quietly for 10 minutes and observe our breathing. We feel the air enter our nostrils and lungs and then come out.
  • Pay attention to our thoughts: We watch our thoughts arise and disappear. We don’t get carried away by them. We keep an observer’s place, a bit like being on a sidewalk and watching the cars pass in front of us. The idea is to detach from our thoughts and gain height.
  • Bringing our attention to the present moment: Walking, taking a shower, eating… are opportunities to practice mindfulness. Instead of getting carried away with our thoughts when we do these things, we ground ourselves in the present and focus our attention on what it feels like to do them. When we walk, we pay attention to our feet, when we take a shower, we feel the water on our body, when we eat, we pay attention to the taste and texture of food…

These little exercises allow us to slow down the pace and stay more present.


In conclusion, here are some takeaways from this article:

  • We lack patience for 4 main reasons: our expectations are unmet, we are bored, we are stressed, we have learned to be impatient with our education
  • There are many reasons to be patient: patience turns our talent into accomplishment, it allows us to produce our best work, improve our relationship with others and make better decisions.
  • To be more patient, there are different techniques: taking breaths, creating an interruption, redefining our expectations, recognizing what triggers our impatience and practicing mindfulness.

Notes :

  1. The 7 Laws of Impatience
  2. Importance of Patience in Life
  3. How to Be Patient
  4. Can Mindfulness Help Kids Learn Self-Control?

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