You may have recently read my blog on our trip to Argentina. Nobody likes airports. At least I don’t anyway. It is the same thing every time. We check in, go through security and then wait at the gate while watching a bit of Netflix or reading (Or in Theresa’s case, almost having a heart seizure watching Extras).
Then, the same thing happens, no matter what part of the world we are in or what time of the year it is. 90% of the passengers line up and spend around 40 minutes waiting in line to get onto the flight. The seats are always reserved, we have a specific seat number which nobody can take and yet we line up regardless. The plane will not leave any sooner nor will we get a more comfortable seat by lining up.
Is it FOMO. Do we have a fear of missing out on the optimum seat or baggage spaces?
Is this because of impatience?
Columbia University Professor David Maister argues that “occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time.” In other words, people like to feel they are being productive when they are waiting in line for something. It would be far more productive to take a seat and actually get some work done rather than standing in line. I believe the subconscious thinking is that we are advancing our immediate goal of getting on the plane.
We are also influenced by other people. This is called the herd mentality where we follow the majority or in some cases not even the majority, just the first ones to make the move. Studies have shown that as little as five people can influence a crowd of 100 to follow suit.
Waiting is frustrating and demoralizing. So why do it? Why wait in line when we can have a comfortable (as comfortable as airport chairs get) seat and board at our leisure?
Maybe the answer is a simple as boredom. A watched pot never boils. Those of us waiting in line at the gate feel like we are watching the pot and that standing in line is moving things along somewhat. Occupying the time, so to speak.
This seems like a lack of patience on our part. I wonder was this always the case? Did we line up for planes in the 1950’s even if we were guaranteed one particular seat on the plane, or is this a knock on effect of today’s society in which instant gratification is the norm so we subconsciously expect instant boarding?
Modern cultural norms like text messaging, Amazon delivery, the afore mentioned Netflix have changed the way we think. We want everything now, but the more we are made to wait, the better we become at it. Or at least that is what one would believe. But the truth is we never willingly wait for anything. Everything is instant, so we expect everything now. Our objective must come to us in a hurry and if that is not going to happen then we will go to our objective in a hurry.
In this case, the aeroplane is there, we must get on.
We cannot wait for anything anymore. It is all about short term success. But in my opinion we need to slow down…..and……… s … t … o … p ….
We need to listen to ourselves. We need to listen to our bodies, our sub consciousness, our needs and our troubles.
The aeroplane is simply an analogy for how we hurry through life these days. We need to take stock of where we are and actually stay in the present moment, rather than letting our minds race ahead to the plane when boarding has not even begun.
It is this quick, immediate, instant mentality that pulls us to the line up. It is not our desire to board the plane, rather it is the fact that our mind is already ahead of us to a completely different destination.
Do not confuse this with thinking ahead. Planning is one thing but letting our minds wander so far ahead that we try to (metaphorically) push through doors that are not even open is another thing.
We have our best ideas when we stop. Have you ever allowed yourself to get bored? That is when things really start to happen in the mind. That is when the mind starts to find some breathing space and work out the kinks that we have buried so deep in our efforts to be somewhere else that they have been forgotten.
Impatience not only takes us away from the present moment, it also takes us away from ourselves and from each other. Impatience kills relationships.
Would life permit us to count to ten before we made every decision? Things would slow down that’s for sure but is that so bad? Is it so bad to have to actually sit at home on the couch and let the mind wander rather than having Ricky Gervais at the touch of a button to make us piss ourselves with laughter?
I watch my fair share of Netflix, but maybe we should think about pressing the pause button a little more and allow the mind to take a breather. I can’t remember the last time I sat in silence (apart from meditation) with no book, no TV, no phone, no stimulation. Maybe I should practise what I preach.
I watched a TED Talk today from a man named Albert “Key Lay” Keys. Albert is paralysed, in a wheel chair. The chair thought him patience and wisdom it seems. He tells us that “patience is the thin line between an argument and an intelligent debate. If we can be patient with ourselves, it is only then that we can be patient with others.”
So, maybe since it’s Christmas time, let’s see if we can actually slow down, rather than speed up like we usually do at this time of the year. Let’s take the time to sit in silence and ignore the honking horns, the frantic shopping needs and the jam packed parking lots.
Let’s stop and just soak it in. Feel what’s happening. Feel the goodwill, and if we can’t feel it we can create it.
Let’s start by stopping.
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