Can You Please Hurry Up?

tech and patience

Frustrated that I haven’t gotten to the point yet? Here it is: Technology is making us more impatient.

Once upon a time, optimistic futurists imagined a world in which technology would make life so efficient that our biggest worry would be what to do with all our free time.

Yeah, well, predicting the future has never been an exact science. Turns out that an unforeseen consequence of our ever-faster, evermore potent technology is that it’s making us restless.

The website summarized the results of a new British survey that asked respondents how long they would wait for something before becoming impatient. And in most cases, the answer was … not very long.

Respondents grew frustrated over web pages not loading in16 seconds. (Which, frankly, seems like a really unreasonable amount of time to me; my threshold might be three or four seconds on that one.) Waiting for that Netflix series to stream for more than 22 seconds? (“Grrr. I need to watch Stranger Things Season 3 right now!”) Stoplights? Wait more than 25 seconds and our blood pressure spikes. (I recently counted the seconds at a light near our church: 65 agonizingly long clicks of the clock. Don’t they know we have places to be?!)

Taking things more old school, we start to get frustrated after 20 seconds of waiting for ink to dry on a letter (though one wonders how many folks are even putting pen to paper at all these days). And eating out? A delay of more than 14 minutes at a sit-down restaurant has disgruntled patrons logging into Yelp to tap out a poor rating.

Regarding technology’s relationship to patience, Study Finds contributor John Anderer writes:

Patience is a virtue, but it’s becoming an exceedingly rare quality in modern society. According to a new survey of 2,000 British adults, all of the luxuries of modern life have made most people incredibly impatient — across pretty much every aspect of their lives. Three quarters of those surveyed said they believe the dominance of digital technology, such as smartphones and on-demand TVs, are to blame for this ever growing lack of patience.

Can you relate? I know that I certainly can.

But after 400 or so words here, you’re probably ready to move on to the next tantalizing online factoid. If the page will load fast enough, that is.

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Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hannah and First Comment Guy, I'm surprised you two are still around, considering how rude and mean you two bullies are. Guess this site has no soul whatsoever.
Isaiah Thacker More than 1 year ago
See, for the most part, I don't think this is a bad thing. We grow impatient sooner because our standards of what constitutes a "reasonable" wait time (for a given situation) are rising. Why are our standards rising? In general, it's because technology is improving to meet those new standards. Put another way, our quality of life is improving. That's a good thing. Such quality of life improvements are why we expect our streets not to be covered with filth, and why we expect not to be plagued by the horrifyingly high child mortality rates of years past.

For the reasons above, I wouldn't say this is necessarily symptomatic of a lack of patience. Often, it can simply be a desire to retain the quality of life improvements we've grown accustomed to (some of which have a tendency to stop functioning properly at seemingly random times...)

Of course, wanting our web pages to load more quickly may not be as important as wanting all of our kids to survive to adulthood, but that doesn't make it wrong or unreasonable. Additionally, there's nothing wrong with being a little disappointed or even frustrated when things don't go the way we expect or want them to (e.g. when our technology isn't working properly). Many of the improvements we now take for granted came about because someone said, "There has to be a better and/or faster way to do this." The real problem arises when we let our frustration get out of hand.

Of course, the traffic light statistic you mentioned is probably a good example of where what I said above doesn't apply: where people are likely showing a genuine, wholly unreasonable lack of patience. Honestly, people need to calm down when driving. Growing impatient and irritable isn't going to get one to one's destination any faster, and it's... ah... unhealthy in more ways than one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I believe you are reading the ailment incorrectly, here's what I believe is occurring is as individuals we are overly stimulated. We have a need to be filled, like a fix. You always have a choice to ignore a screen.  BUT what do most or all of us do, grab our cell phone, why talk to anybody. I've seen families waiting at a restaurant, while all kids and the parents are thumbing their phones. One might giggle and point at a funny youTube for a second, while sharing with their sister. So I believe I can be just as good a Christian outside using my cell phone as everybody else,” the man said. Moody said nothing. Instead, he moved to the fireplace, blazing against the winter outside, removed one burning coal and placed it on the hearth. The two men sat together and watched the ember die out. “I see,” the other man said. The devil wants us to be stimulated Christians so we won't see it coming in being separated from our true Father. Who is your true GOD? is it a Cell Phone or Technology. Who is coming? or is it another new IPhone coming?

Isaiah Thacker More than 1 year ago
Am I the only one who found this fellow's comment incoherent? It's like he stitched two different posts together, yet left parts missing from each.
Hannah Cole More than 1 year ago
I don't get it either. Your first comment, however, was very well-written! I agree with the points you made; we've just become used to things being better, which isn't wrong as long as our impatience doesn't control us. I don't mind waiting for things sometimes because it gives me time to just sit and think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

People before technology: I can wait.

People after technology: