“Hurry up – We don’t have time to waste!”
Core Fear: Running out of Time
Strategy: You believe that ‘time’ is something that can be saved or wasted –
it is a substance or ‘thing’ that can be controlled. Your life is ruled by this belief.
Power Game: When you run around, trying to do everything faster, your intolerance of ‘slow’ people creates the impression that you think that they are incompetent. In fact, you think that you are the only one who can get things done properly! You create incompetence and you control other people by simply taking over the pace of the action.
Key Problem: It is deeply ironic that your attempts to cram as much as you can into a certain span of time results in you missing out on enjoying any of it – you are constantly in the ‘next’ moment, and miss out on ‘now’. Your intolerance of other people is a major problem in relationships.
Body Impact: It appears as if you are constantly leaning forward, trying to get to ‘next’ as fast as possible. Causes stress on the cardiovascular system. You do not walk – you stride rapidly. High blood pressure, heart-attacks, and similar problems may emerge if your impatience is high and constant.
Outcome: When you rush from ‘next’ to ‘next’, not only does the stress placed on your body reduce your physical life-span, but the content of your experiences are fleeting and superficial, because you have low tolerance for details. In effect, you waste whatever time you have, and literally run out of time itself.
Development & Decisions – Various Ways
The development of this Shadow is often difficult to pin-point because it is rarely the
result of one or two major events. Instead, it tends to develop over time (excuse the pun).
For example, a typical scenario which promotes Impatience is boarding school, military
training, or high-pressured corporate life, with their strict regulation of time and
schedules. These systems make you acutely aware of the ‘tick-tock time-is-money’
mentality, as your life in these systems is rigidly linked to measured time and schedules.
Being late results in punishment of some kind, and so you learn that wasting time is
You may also have learned Impatience from your parents, especially if one or both of
them were impatient themselves. “Hurry – don’t dawdle!” You learn to associate time
with fear, and ‘wasting time’ with disapproval.
If your parents or caregivers were rather old – middle aged or older – their slower habits
may have been experienced as suppressive of your youthful energy. For example, they
may like to take an afternoon nap when you just wanted to play, and you felt as if you
were missing out on so much of life. You learn to resent slowness and decide that you
will not waste time like they do. A similar scenario occurs when the child’s activities are
restricted by the parents or even through protracted illness. A rare method of
development may occur in the womb itself, if the mother is anxious and impatient. The
hormonal effects reach the womb, and the foetus can associate this hormone with
Consequences in Adulthood
Fundamentally, you have become a Human Doing. You define yourself in terms of what
you DO, and how much DOING you can achieve in a day. If you cannot DO something,
you lose self-worth. Even when you are supposedly sitting still, you are twitching,
tapping or twiddling your hair, fingers or feet. You have little idea of how to BE. This is
vastly different from being driven by some purpose or goal – Impatience is driven by a
fear of running out of time, and of missing out of life. In the process of rushing, you miss
out on NOW, which is life itself.
You seem to be constantly planning because you feel driven. You say that there is either
too much or too little time. Your warped sense of time leads you to over-commit in your
schedule, and you try to cram too much in a short space of time. Ironically, this results in
you being late for appointments, even although you are highly intolerant of anyone else
being late for an appointment with you!
You believe that “if I don’t rush, I’ll never complete my goals in time”. There are a
number of consequences, including accidents because of rushing, and not having time to
actually enjoy anything you have completed. Oh no – it is surprising that you complete
anything, because as soon as the end is in sight, you are already racing to the next project.
This means that your talents get lost because you need time to develop and practice them.
Also, you may waste an enormous amount of time by glossing over details, for which you
have no time!
People may also experience you as highly intolerant, and not high on the list of someone
to ask for input, guidance or assistance. This is because you cannot tolerate slowness, nor
are you willing to take the time to consider questions which you think are ‘obvious’ (to
you, at least). You are quite likely to tell someone (verbally or in your attitude) that
she/he is stupid if she/he does not understand something.
You complain a great deal about how incompetent people are. However, because you do
not allow people to work at their own speed, nor do you allow time for learning, you rush
in and ‘hijack’ projects and activities. Is it any wonder you are left with all the work? “If
you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself!” is a statement spoken by
someone with high levels of the Impatience Shadow. This does not make you a very
good team-player, nor a good leader. It is not unusual for someone with this Shadow to
use intimidation to force people to work faster.
You may make some rash decisions, simply because you are not willing to wait for more
information, or the process is too slow for your liking. You would rather have a cheque
bounce than wait in the bank queue at the end of the month to deposit the funds! You
probably conceive of Hell as a long queue in a Post Office!
You tend to blame your problems on either Time (not enough) or other people (for
wasting Time). In this way, you avoid taking responsibility for the fact that you are
causing many of these problems yourself. How well do you sleep at night? How
difficult is it to ‘switch off your mind? Can you relax? Or is relaxation only for people
who are lazy and who have nothing else to do? What a waste of TIME!’
When you feel betrayed by Time (not enough or someone wasted your TIME), you slip
into the Martyrdom Shadow, and become a Victim of Time.
Health: Vascular system affected, creating the potential for heart attacks. Accelerates aging. Suppresses immune system. Linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You gobble food, leaving little time for proper digestion. Rushing causes accidents.
Creativity: You are not willing to go through the incubation and evolution stages the creative process. Therefore, creativity is poor, unfinished, and weak. You may never get around to making an idea real and physical. Often, you start things and don’t finish them.
Presence: Presence requires that your attention is in the present moment. Totally incompatible with your impatient anticipation of the future.
Relationships: Your intolerance ruins relationships quickly. You may interrupt other people who are speaking or finish their sentences for them. Rushing in late, leaving early. This all alienates others. You tend to blame others for going away, when your impatience has driven them away. Rush to sexual climax.
Spirituality: Impatience makes it impossible to reflect, pray, meditate, or be still. You rush towards (future) salvation, ignoring the present. Always ready to save the world. May try to take short cuts towards enlightenment.
How to deal With the Impatience Shadow
Your primary task is to get in touch with your Human Being-ness
If you are doing a whole range of things without taking the time to enjoy all of it, why are
you bothering? Who told you that ‘time is money’? What nonsense! You were
probably told this by someone who wants to work you into the ground and make a great
deal of money from that, while she/he enjoys the easy ride! Wake up and smell the
coffee: YOU ARE NOT A HUMAN DOING! The world will not – brace yourself -
will not stop if you did nothing. If you dropped dead right now, the world will continue
quite well without you. The point is this: If you want to control time, then at least have
the common sense to experience it. This means being here and NOW, not in the ‘next’
moment. And you think everyone else is stupid? Think about it: Who is enjoying life –
you or them?
- Consciously Waste Time. Do not plan the entire day. Leave time for doing nothing.
- Eliminate intrusions – noise – television – general noise.
- Be Mindful: Pay attention to present time reality. Listen to some music. If you have great difficulty in dealing with queues or slow processes, music can be a great help, such as a walk-man.
- Play with Time: Spend the day without your watch.
- Become aware of what you can control, and what you cannot control.
- Plant something and watch it grow. Invest in long-term projects. Try!
- Start an exercise program that involves slow and deliberate movements, such as yoga or Tai-Chi.