Waiting Well?

How many of us would say that we love to wait?  How many of us would say that we are really patient when we are waiting? Have you ever been annoyed watching people who seem to be enjoying the wait?  I can safely say that I don’t enjoy waiting, not even one second.  Can you imagine just how much I can accomplish in that one second of waiting?

However, truth be told, waiting is an act that is required of us and in fact we demand it from others.  Think about, has there been anything that we do that does not include some form of waiting?  I have to wait for my coffee to appear from the Nespresso machine (sometimes that can seem like eternity) to waiting for the hot water to come out from the freezing pipes to more significant waiting time eg waiting for a potential client to come back to me.  That got me thinking, when has the waiting been “acceptable” and even welcomed and when is it just  downright frustrating.

Was it the significance of the outcome that made the waiting unbearable?  Was it just having the right expectations and mindset about the waiting time?  Was it my calm, zen-like nature that is just more patient (ok that’s not me)?

I think that it comes down to the following:

  1. Importance.  How important is the outcome or the nature of the waiting time?  Depending on where it ranks in my importance scale, my ability to wait is inversely proportionate.  For example, if I perceive something to be important I am naturally more anxious and impatient to know the outcome, hence I don’t want to wait but to know the outcome immediately.  If it’s a trivial matter, it really does not bother me if I had to wait and in fact I might even forget about it.
  2. Expectations.  Setting the right expectations on time frame to wait as well having the appropriate expectations of the outcome, makes the waiting time bearable.  If I know that I had to wait for 3 days before knowing whether my home loan is approved or not,  then I am able to wait knowing that there is time frame.  Waiting indefinitely is clearly unsettling but in life there are moments that certainly are like that.  So the question is how can we handle a prolong waiting time?
  3. Personality.  A lot of how we react or respond depends on our personality.  For Type A person like me, waiting patiently and productively requires a lot of effort on my part to change my responses.  I have over the years learned to manage better through the waiting period by focusing on other  areas instead of being fixated on the wait or all the things that are wrong.

I would like to suggest that to wait well, ask yourself :

  1. What is the significance of this waiting time to you?
  2. What could you do while waiting?
  3. What other areas could you focus on?
  4. What experiences or lessons could you learn about yourself during this time of waiting?

What do you do to wait well?


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