Patience is a Virtue


I once heard someone say that Chicago has very aggressive pedestrians, and it’s true. I was walking to work yesterday from the train station and paused at the crosswalk because the light was about to change. A young guy decided to cross the street at the last minute but didn’t make it through the crosswalk before the light changed. To my surprise, what looked to be an innocent girl in her car blared the horn and let loose a string of obscenities. The guy simply banged on the hood of her car and kept going. She proceeded to lay on her horn at the row of cars blocking the intersection who hadn’t yet made it through the light. No one around me acknowledged this exchange. But in my mind I was remembering the idiom, “Patience is a virtue.” It’s funny because this phrase dates back to the 14th century but it still holds true and always will.

We’ve been conditioned as a society to do things faster. And faster yet. The retail industry has jumped on the bandwagon with online retailers from Amazon to Walmart offering same-day delivery. Next-day shipping is no longer enough for those who need instant gratification. I often get offers from AT&T touting faster internet service. Mine works just fine, thanks. Don’t want to wait in line? There’s an app for that. Need instant feedback? Just post something on Facebook. I attempted to read an article while I was on the train about different micro-moments, which is relevant to my job, but it didn’t load fast enough so I closed out. Because it didn’t come up in a micro-second. Why are we always in a rush?

I remember when my daughter was young a friend marveled at how patient I was with her. Looking back it was easy because I had only one kid and she was for the most part well-behaved. Fast forward five years and I don’t think my friend would have the same observation. I used to be patient. Extremely so. But I’ve lost it and as much as I try my impatience often simmers until I reach my boiling point. My kids have no sense of urgency so we are always pressed for time. I hate being late so my stress level elevates and my attempt at practicing patience is out the window. But I’m trying. I don’t want to be mean, scary mommy. But I think I get carried away by this fast movement.

I wish I could slow things down and stop and smell the roses.

As a marketer I’d predict that things will soon go in that direction, in messaging at least if not in practice. And I’m looking forward to that day. But for now, I’m simply trying to be patient as I attempt to embrace patience.

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