I am naturally an impatient person.
There is sound reason for this. I value efficiency. The most direct way to an end point is key for me. Traffic needs to flow at the right pace, things need to get done without wastage, and systems should work without disruption. I hate queues. My impatience is born out of what I deem “unnecessary obstacles” due to “stupidity” or poor design. This is made worse when the outcome or destination holds key value for me.
This played out rather dramatically for me the other day. I was departing for a meeting 5min later than anticipated and new that the timing was tight already. This now called for optimal route efficiency! My natural logic dictates that when an obstacle is encountered I immediately find another route. A slow moving vehicle, backed up traffic, slow moving traffic. The universe appeared to have conspired against me because I was now encountering all three. True to style I was finding alternative routes. Except this time, I did just one big square landing up exactly where I started, just 6min later. No progress, just a lot less petrol and now with an even tighter timeline.
Once my sense of humour had returned, it got me thinking. If I do this in traffic, how many times am I doing this in the decisions I make every day? If I had been just a fraction more patient at key times that morning, the obstacle would have cleared I would have been on my way with no delay. What dawned on me is how much expectation was playing a part in my decision making process. I expect no queues so when I encounter one I resent it and make a plan. I expect easy traffic flow and when it jams I go mad especially when I cannot find a way though.
What if I could change my expectation without losing what I value? Queues exist, they are a way of life. Many times they work, many ties they do not and I think “Murphy” has a lot to do with when this plays out. But if you wait in the queue, you will get to the front. The key then is knowing which queue to be in and then to wait, if you have to. I have seen this play out in my life and business decisions. I have seen my lack of patience cost me doing great work. I have seen my change of direction bring me right back to the beginning.
So now I have picked a queue that I am happy to be in; picked a direction that I know I want to go in and I am prepared to wait. Do my time.
Sometimes there just isn’t a short cut. And while you wait you can meet some really interesting people and you get to see the world in a new light.