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Speed Is The Exception-Patience Is The Casualty

Patience has been one of the great unnoticed casualties of the 21st century so far.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

We speed date. Eat fast food. Use the self-checkout lines in grocery stores. Try the ‘one weekend’ diet and pay extra for overnight shipping. We honk when the light turns green. Thrive on quarterly earnings reports. Speak in half-sentences. Talk in emojis and TLAs (three-letter acronyms). We tweet stories in 140 characters or fewer. We cut corners, take shortcuts. We txt and start things we don’t fin….

We prefer to abandon, rather than wait. We often abandon reading what we want to read if it is not available at that moment. We are forgetting that we are part of the environment, and not the other way around.

The internet’s primary feature is to link people and their devices. It is used for e-mail, research, downloading files, discussion groups, interactive games, education and self-improvement, friendship and dating, electronic newspapers and magazines, job-hunting and shopping. In almost every instance these tasks were more expensive, difficult and slower than before the internet. Ostensibly, this change is a good thing, but in so doing we’ve lost something. The efficiency and speed created an expectation that everything else should now be as quick and easy.

The internet has contributed to an ‘I want it now’ web-driven impatience. We will see how this change has forced other changes and how impatience is percolating up to change expectations. Web-fed impatience can be tracked all the way through its beneficial effects of efficiency and real-time information up to the erosion of trust and confidence at the strategic level.

Impatience is the reason many will never hear the ideas in this and other books. It is the reason why many long-term strategic goals will pass unrealized. It’s the reason many careers and long-term relationships will fail. It is the reason why adults and children do not reach their potential. It is the primary reason that ignorance prevails. As Churchill put it: ‘Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.’

Patience has been one of the great unnoticed casualties of the 21st century so far. At a time when technology efficiencies are creating more leisure time and more income, we’re also seeing a paradoxical effect. We feel busier than ever before, as we cram more into our lives. Impatience is defined as an irritation with anything that causes delay or a restless desire for change and excitement. The internet allows us to go so much faster and now we expect it of everything.

The preceding is adapted from The Leadership Lab:  Understanding Leadership in the 21st Century by Chris Lewis and Pippa Malmgrem ©2018 and published with permission from Kogan Page Ltd.

For more information, please visit: www.koganpage.com/theleadershiplab  

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