(Issue #631) Impatience: Virtuous or Narcissistic?

“I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my way in the end.”
~attributed to Margaret Thatcher~


Does it—impatience—reflect our times? An internet search immediately brings up thousands of choices on our screen. We can get overnight delivery,  listen now to a new podcast episode, or watch live some streamed events.

No need to wait. Get what we want even before we know we want it. If the download is a bit slow, we get impatient. And heaven forbid if the overnight delivery arrives an hour or two or (oh, no!) a day late.

Impatience. Is it a virtue?

Such as anticipating what the surgeon will tell you about a loved one’s operation went. Or waiting for the electrical power to be restored to your neighborhood. More importantly, we might move beyond impatience as we wait (and wait and wait) for social justice to be addressed and achieved. Sometimes, impatience might lead to effective and appropriate action to achieve a higher goal for the community.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Impatience. Is it narcissistic?

Too often, though, an act of impatience has less to do with urgency and more about our unrealistic (maybe even me-centered) expectations for the world.

* The slow car in front of us. (How dare she get in my why!)

* The long hold time for a customer service representative. (Idiots!)

* The delay in our weekly garbage pickup. (The city ignored me again!)

* The office meeting that tabled your idea until next month. (What a freaking waste of my time!)

In such instances, impatience is not necessarily a sign of superior expectations or elite standards or proof of superb discipline or work ethic. It can be a sign of expected privilege, insecurity, or lack of self-respect.

Such instances can derail collaboration, empathy, and goodwill.

Yes, impatience can move the needle for good. At other times, impatience might be a code word for unrealistic expectations at the present moment. We expend energy on negative reactions rather than positive responses. We hinder rather than help. We falter rather than persevere.

Video Recommendation for the Week.

This short video reminds us to believe in ourselves when we think what we want seems impossible to reach.


Make it a wonderful week and HTRB as needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program used the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
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