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Waiting, waiting....why?

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

Waiting. Some of us are not good at waiting. The more we learn to wait the better life will be. This means that waiting is imperative for a good life. Read on to find out why.

What is patience

Patience is the ability to wait for something in a calm manner. We DO need patience and it isn't something that we are born with. We need to learn and practice it.

What is delayed gratification

The ultimate patience is delayed gratification. We are waiting for the 'gain'. Waiting for the positive reward. We can have something less grand now or we can wait for something better. We continually face choices in life. Its a conundrum that we face again and again. From minor aspects of our lives to major ones. For example - do I spend my money on things I enjoy now or do I save it up for a holiday. Do I eat this cake now but have more weight to lose later.

What makes waiting hard?

Waiting and patience is a practice in self control. This is something we can learn quite young. If we didn't yet learn delayed gratification then its not too late. We can learn it through the environment and our experiences.

What are the triggers

Sometimes our impatience is triggered more. The most common trigger is time. We often don't see the value in waiting. We have actually developed impatience.

Expectations can trigger this impatience further. For example when we didn't expect to have to wait. The time trigger is because we are on a time limit or feel that we are. From small things like having to be somewhere - eg when stuck in traffic - to bigger self imposed time limits.

Money is another big trigger. When we want a product now and we don't want to have to wait. Mortgage and loan companies have developed for this very reason. We will pay extra in the long term so we don't have to wait.

What's behind this

Expectations are often behind this. Once we are aware of our own expectations we can choose to control this. This is because expectations are in our control. So we can change our expectations.

Control can be behind this in another way. We may feel that if we wait we will miss out. We feel it may no longer be available to us because the option will vanish. Trust also comes in here.

Society can feed us expectations and we have become used to them. This is often why we have become unaware of our own expectations. For example, there has been a move towards expecting to be able to buy a 'nice' first house. Rather than 50 years ago when simply having a house was the target. There is the added complication of comparison. We compare to others and feel it reflects on ourselves. If we don't buy the nice house that everyone else is buying then it means we aren't as good as others.

Once we see the value in waiting it can increase our chances of learning the self control to wait. The value of waiting needs to be bigger than the perceived value of not waiting.

What are the effects of impatience

There are physiological effects of not being patient. When we are not comfortable with waiting it affects us in many ways. Our thoughts drive our feelings. So the impact becomes physical or physiological. We feel tension and discomfort. Self talk - eg negative talk, can have a ripple effect, causing a reaction that you may regret.

What makes it harder

Self control and discipline over ourselves is hard. Often we want life to be easier. Distraction and immediacy are easier. We take the path of least resistance. Realise the gains that this control gives us and then we can begin to resist impatience. Continuing to practice this means we can start to build up our tolerance and become more comfortable with waiting.

What makes this harder is that not every reward and gain is instant. When we expect it to be instant and it doesn't happen we give up. People who give up are playing the short game. This means they do not get to win in the long run. Those who are prepared to wait will have more long term gain.

What are the benefits of patience

Now to the crux of this topic. Research shows that delayed gratification - waiting - can lead to more success in life. More success in health, work, finance and life. More specifically: academic achievement, lower substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, improved stress responses and better social skills. Further more, when you understand 'why' delayed gratification is important it may increase your motivation. In brief it is about both anticipation and earning or deserving it. There is a direct correlation. This 4 minute read isn't going to delve into this. Life Mentoring would be happy to offer you a free call to discuss any matters further.

How can we learn delayed gratification

1. The first step is to increase awareness. For that we need to notice when we are becoming triggered. Notice when we are choosing the 'now' over the 'future' gain. Understand the value in waiting.

2. Check our expectations.

3. Small steps - practice with smaller matters.


Delayed gratification leads us to a better life in many ways. Create the awareness of improving this. Learn patience and gain phenomenally.

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