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8 reasons why patience in life matters

July 31, 2022 - 13 min read


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What is the meaning of patience?

Why is patience so important in life?

Can patience be developed?

The importance of patience in building strong relationships

8 benefits of patience

How can patience help you to accomplish your goals?

Flexibility and patience

Remember: Success doesn't come overnight

I first discovered the importance of patience in life as a kid, when all I wanted was for our tomatoes to grow. Tasty, ripe tomatoes come to those who wait for them to grow. Eating ones that aren’t quite ripe just isn’t the same. I learned early on that being patient pays off. 

But trying to become a more patient person is hard work. In fact, it can be very frustrating to cultivate patience. 

The effort is worth it. When you practice patience, you’ll reap plenty of benefits. Find out more about the importance of patience in life, how it's developed, the impact of patience in relationships, and more. 


What is the meaning of patience?

Any conversation about what patience is and its importance will tend to mention that patience is a virtue. But there's much more to it. Patience is your ability to wait without becoming annoyed, upset, or angry. It's when you exercise self-control rather than lashing out and complaining.

You’re being patient when you take deep breaths and seek inner peace after things don’t go the way you hoped. 

Practicing patience is all about how you act. It involves internalizing your emotions and interpreting the situation you’re in. When you’re being patient, you’ll stop and take a moment to look around while thinking about the bigger picture. That is, you won’t just think about your actions in the present moment but what they’ll mean down the road, too. 

Patience also throws instant gratification out the window. You have the agency to do things that will make it easier for yourself in the short term. Or you can choose to avoid hasty decisions and take actions with long-term benefits. It may require more hard work, but patience pays off, even if it feels difficult in the moment.

Staying mindful of your emotions, behavior, and surroundings is a lot to practice. That’s where BetterUp can help. Learn how to practice self-control and patience, while being mindful of your Whole Self, with the help of our coaches.

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Why is patience so important in life?

How important patience is in life stretches far beyond being nice to others. It benefits your relationships with others and helps these relationships stay healthy over an extended period of time. Being a patient person also teaches you to regulate your emotions so that your well-being remains strong. 

Being impatient causes stress, and chronic stress has detrimental effects on physical well-being. Your physical and mental health grows when you practice patience. You may find that you’ll experience less headaches, acne breakouts, and ulcers.

Patient people may also experience fewer negative emotions. That’s because with patience, you’re better equipped to deal with stressful and challenging moments in life. This helps your overall mental health and well-being.

Patience can even help you avoid and recover from burnout. Rather than work yourself to the extreme, patience reminds you to slow down and prioritize your own well-being. 

Can patience be developed?


If you think you're an impatient person right now, don’t sweat it. With dedication and sustained efforts, everyone can develop patience. You can find a moment of patience in stressful situations by being mindful of others and your surroundings. Practicing gratitude also leads to patience. You can learn to become more patient anywhere — especially in the workplace. 

To be a good leader, you need to understand that everyone contributes something special. Sometimes it takes an employee a few tries to hone their skills toward the team goal, making few mistakes. A good leader will reframe an error as a learning opportunity while being patient. They'll reiterate the importance of teamwork and value everyone’s efforts to meet a deadline.

In the workplace, business leaders and organizations face a lot of uncertainty. Things don't always go according to plan or how people predicted. When that happens, workplaces have to scrap their original plan and think of new things. 

One survey found that when leaders demonstrate patience, productivity, creativity, and collaboration increases. When team members are in a patient atmosphere, they can complete tasks calmly and form strong, collaborative relationships. Patient leadership instills trust in the team and helps businesses succeed in the future. 

The importance of patience in building strong relationships

The role of patience in our life isn't exclusively individual. Being patient also helps you develop strong, healthy, long-lasting relationships. Your relationships with friends, family, and coworkers thrive when you practice patience. 

It’s important to understand that patience isn't transactional. When you’re patient with a person, don’t hold onto an expectation that they'll give you something in return. Patience is about sustaining and bettering relationships — not holding your good deed above someone until they do you a favor. 

Patient people may have an easier time being empathetic, kind, cooperative, and selfless. Being compassionate when others make mistakes helps create relationships where flaws are accepted.

8 benefits of patience


The benefits of being patient touch many areas of our lives. Whether you’re going to the grocery store or work, you can experience the perks that accompany patience. 

Here are eight benefits of patience to consider:

  1. You can better focus on your long-term goals and dreams 
  2. You can make more rational, realistic decisions
  3. You develop persistence and resilience
  4. You have a better time learning new skills
  5. It allows you to be a better listener
  6. You make others feel comfortable
  7. You practice kindness and encourage others to do so too
  8. You learn how to live a peaceful life, not a stressful one

How can patience help you to accomplish your goals?


The journey toward achieving your goals can take plenty of time. Long-term goals and life goals tend to demand resilience, hard work, and dedication. And along the way, your circumstances or goals may change. You can do as much life planning as you want, but sometimes things take a left turn when they should have taken a right. Enter: patience.

You can feel proud when you’re patient in the face of challenges. Overcoming bumps in the road and other tough moments required sustained effort and yes, patience. Plus, opting to be patient over a more stressed out, negative emotion is better for your physical and mental health.

If your goal is to have a healthier work-life balance, you won't start living by that the next day. Perhaps you chose to stay longer at work or took on more projects that cut your vacation short. Afterward, you could feel frustrated with yourself for not prioritizing your goal. Be patient with yourself! New routines and changes take time. 

Flexibility and patience

There’s another important factor that plays into patience: flexibility.

Flexibility and patience go hand in hand. When things don't go your way, you’ll have to develop a new plan. Being flexible helps with that because you can adapt to change easily and with a positive attitude

If you’re patient but not flexible, you may find yourself waiting for things to go back to how you originally wanted them. That doesn't always happen. Plus, waiting too long can mean that you miss opportunities. Flexibility allows you to adapt your goals to be achievable and still bring us success.

Flexibility is also a characteristic that makes a good mentor or an ethical leader. These individuals need to be patient and flexible at the same time. They must guide their team through challenges and create new plans for problem solving. And mentees or employees will grow and change as they discover new goals and skills. 


Remember: Success doesn't come overnight

The world is constantly changing, which leads to your goals evolving as well. That’s why it's important to be patient with them. When your hard work is derailed, practice patience as you get back on track. And don’t expect to keep moving forward at all times.

Sometimes you’ll need to take time to stop and think about your next move. That isn't a bad thing! It shows that you're patient enough to know how to spend your energy and resources in beneficial ways.

The importance of patience in life isn't just for yourself, either. It's for your relationships, career, and personal life. Never forget that your patience impacts others, as it shows people how patience can bring a sense of peace in an otherwise fast-moving world.

At BetterUp, we know that the benefits that coaching brings people can impact their lives for years to come. Discover how our coaches can guide you as you learn to become a patient, flexible person.

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Published July 31, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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