How to Cultivate Patience in a World of Instant Gratification

The other night, I went to our local DVD rental store, because yes, I'm old school and I've never had Netflix or cable. Try to set that detail aside, and stand with me for a moment in the ancient aisles of my DVD rental store, Family Video. So I'm perusing movie titles, and a married couple in the aisle next to me has a conundrum. The wife points to a movie and says, “Oh, I really wanted to watch that one – but it’s only available on Blu-Ray.”

The husband has a quick solution, as many husbands do: “Well, we could always just run over to Best Buy and use my points to buy a new Blu-Ray player.”

If this interaction had been documented on Twitter, it would’ve merited the hashtag, #firstworldproblems.

I found myself instinctively looking at my watch. 8:40pm. Were they seriously going to rent the Blu-Ray movie of their choice, drive to Best Buy, and purchase a brand new Blu-Ray player, just so they could watch the movie they wanted to watch?

Apparently so.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with shopping at Best Buy or having Best Buy points to spend — I fall into this category, on both counts.

But after hearing this couple’s interaction, I did wonder: Does our culture’s knee-jerk reaction toward immediate gratification cause us to miss the important life lesson of learning patience?

After checking out my DVDs from Family Video, I climbed into my minivan and did a little soul searching. I thought about how quick I am to go out and buy things as I need them, provided the money is available.

During the ten years I lived in South Africa, I witnessed a different way of life – a culture and community who looked to friends and neighbors for material resources before rushing out to buy a brand new item.

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