It's the day my friends and I have all been dreading. We show up to school and head to class where our teacher has a basket of snacks waiting for us. They like to make sure we're fed before it happens. We say our goodbyes, knowing the next four hours will be agonizingly lonely. We sit down, a large trifold cardboard divider keeping us from our usual social interaction at school. Today is state testing today.
The tests themselves weren't the torture. In fact, I rather enjoyed the academic side of the exams. The part I absolutely loathed, however, was the waiting. Even if you were the first student to finish, you had to sit and wait for every other student to finish to ensure a fair experience was had by all. It was horrendous, horrible, and borderline abuse for someone like me who had the patience of a parrot.
Waiting has never been a strength of mine, but I'm not alone. Research tells us people get frustrated after only 25 seconds at a stop light and 16 seconds while waiting for a webpage to load. If Netflix buffers for three seconds I'm choosing a different show.
At the doctor's office, in line for food, for results to come back, or for our spouse to be ready... so much of life is spent "in the waiting." It's a skill worth investing in.
Here's how you can get better at waiting:
Remind yourself of the reality of time. Is 30 seconds truly that much time for a message to go to space, transmit through a satellite, come back to your phone, and appear as pictures and words for you to view? Or are we just accustomed to the miracle of. modern technology?
Practice doing nothing. I'm guilty of trying to fill every second of every day with an activity. One time at a Cane Grinding (where there isn't much to do) my friend Jackson asked me, "How does it feel to just sit?" Honestly? It felt pretty good.
Find a reason for the waiting. It may not be evident why you have to wait so long. Are they short staffed? Is this light broken? If the reason isn' apparent, make one up. Having a "why" will help you navigate the time spent waiting.
We're not all built to wait, but if we must wait, we might as well get better at it.
Give yourself an overall "waiting score" from 1-100. Each time you wait today, try and improve that score.
What is your best strategy for waiting well? What is your worst?
"Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting." - Joyce Meyer
P.S. I hope this was helpful to you. If you can't wait for next week's newsletter, remember, you can read one of the nearly 100 other Two for You articles here.