Overcoming impatience is possible, when you learn to become aware of your own thought processes. Awareness is the first step to self control. Normally, without your consciousness, subtle neural pattern recognition (PR) makes you feel impatient when you are stuck in traffic behind a slow driver. PR is a process, which enables you to understand the intentions behind the behaviors of other people or of other systems.
Impatience is the reaction of your system, when you sense that another person, or the world itself, is proceeding more slowly than you want to. You can overcome your impatience by discovering your trigger points for it and by deciding whether to calmly speed up the other person's leisurely pace, or to accept it and flow with it. You can control your responses, because the constitution of your brain is not mathematical, but instinctive. Volatile instincts can be stilled.
Can An Algorithm Be Controlling The Mind?
I am not a physician, but an engineer. Way back in 1989, I listed how the ELIMINATION approach of an AI Program could be uncovering a mystery of the mind. How could a doctor be instantly identifying Disease X out of 8000 diseases? How could the doctor's mind isolate a single disease/symptom (D/S link out of trillions of possible links in less than half a second?
This list of 6 unique new premises could be explaining the enigma and revealing an exciting glimpse into the mind:
First, the total born and learned knowledge available to the doctor could only be existing as the stored/retrieved data within the 100 billion neurons in his brain.
Second, axon hillocks could be storing that knowledge as combinatorial memories. Residing at the head of the axonal output of each neuron is its axon hillock, receiving thousands of inputs from other neurons. Each hillock is known to be making the pivotal neuronal decision about received inputs within 5 milliseconds. The hillock could be opting to fire impulses, if it recalled a combination. If not, it could be opting to inhibit further impulses. Or, it could be recording new combinations, adding to its memory store. These choices and recordings were programming axon hillocks to logically store and respond to vast memories, making the mind intelligent.
Third, combinations are known to be providing nature with its most powerful mode of coding. Science has been reporting the neuronal memories provided by combinations for millions of smells. Each axon hillock is capable of processing more combinations than there are stars in the sky. Each new combination stored by an axon hillock could be recording a new set of relationship links remembered by the mind. The doctor's brain could be storing all the D/S links known to him as combinations in the relevant axon hillocks of his brain.
Fourth, instant global communication is working today as a practical reality. Millions of cells of spreadsheets are instantly reflecting single inputs into cells. The doctor observes a symptom. Within the instant of his observation, the feedback and feed forward links of his brain could be informing all related D/S axon hillocks of the presence of the symptom as a combinatorial transmission. Only the D/S link of Disease X could be recalling the combination and recognizing the symptom.
Fifth, on not recognizing the symptom, all other disease related D/S hillocks could be instantly inhibiting their impulses. But, the D/S links of Disease X could be continuing to fire. Those firing D/S link would be recalling past complaints, treatments, patients, references and signs of Disease X, thus confirming the diagnosis, in the doctor's mind. In this manner, rational axon hillocks could be enabling the prescient speed and wisdom of the mind.
Sixth, specific regions of the brain are known to be identifying sensory inputs, recognizing objects and events, triggering emotions and providing motor responses. Axon hillocks of those regions could be rationally responding to inputs and triggering those functions. The axon hillocks of the amygdala could be storing memories of threats during life, or during prehistoric encounters. The sight of a snake could be triggering fear signals from the organ. Those signals could be triggering reflexive flight or freeze responses out of the axon hillocks of the motor regions.
Finally, common sense can calm such reflexive responses through routines for self awareness, as suggested in these pages. Sound judgement can be toughening the mind by making it patient and by controlling its temper. Grief or guilt will not be shattering experiences; reason can be the tool for conquering fear; for escaping from the well of sudden disappointment; avoiding dissatisfaction with life; avoiding despair over the lack of meaning in life. These urged routines, which provide effective mind control, are now benefiting thousands of people.
Worldwide interest in this website is acknowledging its rationale. Not metaphysical theories, but pattern recognition and infinite axon hillock memories could be explaining the astonishing speed of human intuition. Several years after 1989, a Nobel Prize began acknowledging combinatorial olfactory codes. Over three decades, this website has been assembling evidence of how neural pattern recognition is powering emotional and physical behaviors. It has been receiving over 2 million page views from over 150 countries.
How Does The Mind Recognize Patterns?
Mathematics can hardly explain the link between nerve impulses and an abstract concept like impatience. Cognitive theories hypothesize that received impulses are mathematically processed by neurons to produce outputs. But, it is hard to imagine a maths equation which links neural impulses to exasperation.
Sensory inputs and motor outputs are patterns of nerve impulses. This website suggests that such subtle processes are powered by the PR capability of the so called mirror neuron network. These circuits are contextually positioned in the sensory, motor and emotional regions of your brain and translate the intentions, actions and feelings of other people into your personal subconscious experiences.
Unlike a mathematical model of the mind, a more feasible PR framework is suggested in these pages. Coded PR (Nobel Prize 2004) was shown to identify the subtlest of patterns. The olfactory system was reported to distinguish between the aromas of tea and coffee through combinatorial coding. Such PR coding enables the storage and manipulation of astronomically large lodes of experience to produce the outputs of the nervous system. Intuition enables the mirror neuron network to recognize the grimace of a friend to create your inner awareness of her pain. Impatience is a similar PR process.
What Is The Mirror Neuron Network?
Located in all the relevant regions of the brain, mirror neurons enable you to sense the intentions, actions and feelings of other people as your own personal experiences. Mirror neurons in the monkey ventral premotor cortex were reported to discharge during the execution of its own goal-directed hand movements and also when the monkey observes similar hand actions by other animals. The mirror neuron network observes others and senses the precise muscle movements they make to achieve specific goals.
Similarly, by sensing internal thought processes, the network provides you with more personal data than you can ever uncover by talking to a person. Scientists suggest that less than 10% of social understanding comes from spoken words. The mirror neuron network makes you subconsciously aware of how quickly you will get service at a restaurant, or how long it will take you to get to the end of the queue. Impatience is when you sense that the mechanisms which control your environment are seen to move at a slower pace than your own subconscious plan of action.
How Does The Shadow Motor System Work?
The driver of an automobile subconsciously controls the foot pressure on the gas pedal, timing it to keep pace with road traffic. A co-passenger mirrors this action within his own mind. Empathically, his motor neurons shadow this activity. If the driver unnecessarily slows down, the mirrored motor neuron activities of the passenger fail to keep pace with the timing required to keep up with traffic. The mirror neurons of the passenger will ineffectually seek to apply more pressure on the gas pedal.
The brain has timing systems to detect the subtle difference between the required speed and the actual speed of the automobile. In experiments on laboratory animals, Professor Wolfram Schultz discovered accurately controlled internal timingmechanisms. These mechanisms could predict the precise times, measured in seconds, when a reward could be expected. The passenger senses that external events occur at a slower pace than his willed controls. Internal pressure against perceived restraint triggers the impatience emotion.
How Does The Mind Respond To Obstructions?
While obstructions trigger anger, impatience is predisposed to perceive tardy situations as threatening territorial goals. For impatient people, the conquest of territory is linked to the accomplishment of the most number of goals as quickly as possible. The individual's goals demarcate the territory, which he aims to occupy.
When a slow moving process threatens to obstruct this plan, the territorial protection regions within the early reptilian part of the brain respond. At this level, the hypothalamus in the limbic system responds to territorial threats. A patient with severe brain damage, with the hypothalamus intact, was reported to growl or exhibit distress, when approached. In this case, forced restraint becomes a threat, which becomes a trigger point for the amygdalae.
In experiments on caged rats, the animals received painful foot shocks, accompanied by specific sounds. Later, the sounds alone were observed to induce stresses in the animals. The sound signals were noted to generate stronger responses in the input synapses of the amygdalae. The neural junctions receiving the signals increased intracellular calcium, leading to protein synthesis. The sound to pain relationship was retained in memory as long-term potentiation (LTP), a persisting potential, causing the amygdalae to react more readily to such signals.
What Is The Result Of Hostility?
It is not energetic competitiveness, but increased hostility, which is now believed to precipitate heart disease. The signals from the limbic system travel to the adrenal gland, which produces cortisol, causing an increase in glucose production to provide additional fuel for the muscles and brain to deal with the potential stress. A chain of biological events engulf the mind.
They are triggered by an instinctive brain, which adopts hostility to overcome obstructions by preparing the body for physical battle to claim territory. Impatience triggers a powerful emotional response. When hostility takes over, the signals increase blood pressure, increase red blood cells, release sugar into the blood and increase the tendency for blood clotting. There are several common symptoms for impatience, including constant jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding, swearing at the slightest frustration, and proneness to high blood pressure.
What Are The Symptoms Of Impatience?
Habitual impatience may originate from a childhood fear of not being permitted to “join the game.” By the time a person reaches adulthood, the neural pathways underlying impatience become well established in the brain. At an early age, LTP circuits in the limbic system develop to reinforce an irrational fear that life itself will prevent the fulfillment of the individual's full potential. This fear shifts the focus of the mind to extract the maximum value out of each moment, while feeling oneself unwillingly tied down in the present.
The entire body becomes geared to finish each activity as quickly as possible to get on to the next. The individual's clock is speeding at one pace, while the world moves at a slower pace. Impatience can trigger a creative audacity. The emotion drives successful and fiercely competitive Type A managers, prepared to take risks and leap in where others fear to tread. Always, for them, “What I am doing right now is extremely important and urgent.” Impatience can also trigger an intolerance of any obstruction, leading to destructive behavior.
What Is The Stress Of Unfinished Tasks?
The impatient person may strongly believe in “a clean work table” concept – a conviction that jobs should be done straight away, (not left on the table) to avoid the vicious problem of procrastination. With this fixation, LTP circuits will be triggered for each perceptual signal, which indicates that the job remains to be done. The sight of an unfinished task triggers impatience and emotional tension. Added to this is the vexing awareness that reminders may be interpreted as nagging, or bullying.
Even if it is pointed out by others, most people remain genuinely unaware of their habitual impatience. They see life itself as a constant, unyielding obstacle. They cannot tolerate slowness, delay or failure, either in others, or even in themselves. A car that fails to start is as much a threat as a mugger on a dark street.
Impatience may lead to angry outbursts, seeing unhelpful people as a hindrance, and thrust them out of the way. They are constantly prepared to go on the offensive, ready to push ahead and punch through obstructions. Impatient people struggle to finish the present activity, which they perceive as something which holds them back from attempting more important things in life before death strikes.
How Many Irons Should You Have In The Fire?
More trouble arrives when the lack of exciting opportunities and the slow pace of one's career add desperation to impatience. Modern marketing techniques prevail on people to pursue more goals than they can comfortably achieve. Training opportunities are offered for thousands of careers and hobbies. Each one adds another attractive goal in life. Since they fear being left out of the race, impatient people feel a need to attempt many goals. The underlying logic is that when you have many irons in the fire, at least one of them will produce success.
But, depth, rather than width is the key to success. Eliminating less promising fields is the strategy of most successful people in the world. They discover their inner strengths early and focus on a few goals. Gladwell disclosed the "10,000-Hour Rule" that success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of dedicated and persistent practice.
Focused effort invariably lies behind significant successes in life. It is better to discard fields which lack promise early so that your efforts can be concentrated in the more likely fields, where you have a chance of excelling. Too many goals can be self defeating.
Why Is Patience Needed?
Early in childhood, impatient people set an ambitious plan for achievements in life. Anything less appears to them to be an acceptance of failure. They carry a Bucket List of things to be done before they die. But, success comes by fully grasping the few real opportunities, which each person gets in life. Mental goading cannot increase the fortuitous appearance of such opportunities.
In his famous novel, James Clavell outlines the strategy of a warlord in Japan, Lord Toranaga,. His goal was to destroy his last powerful rival and become the Shogun. His plan was to wait patiently until “one day, his rival will make one mistake and then, he too will be gone!” That strategy demands an unparalleled level of patient, clear sighted vision, not impatient fretting.
Can Patience Enhance Your Energy?
Patience calms you. The mood is directly related to your prediction of the time or effort needed to reach a goal. Professor Schultz discovered that nature dispatches dopamine to the forebrain for the precise estimated time you feel you need to achieve a particular goal. Dopamine brings clarity of thought and reduces the negative emotional activity of the amygdala.
If you expect things to be completed in less time than it will actually take, the dopamine flow stops before your goal is reached. Your energy drops and the amygdala becomes free to amplify the turmoil surrounding your impatience. Stress follows. Only patience grants the energy to attempt demanding goals. Patience also adds the benefits of peace of mind and long life.
What Is Self Awareness?
First, overcoming impatience needs an inner conviction that calm patience is a preferable option. Impatience is a problem and not a solution. Second, you need to refocus your life, concentrating on a few achievable goals, while systematically discarding those where you do not enjoy distinct advantages. Third, in reading this page, you have indicated a desire to overcome your impatience. With that desire, you have already travelled far on this road.
Fourth, you need to become aware, when impatience strikes. This requires self awareness. Self awareness is key to the meditation practiced for centuries by the Buddhists. They advised “staring back” at your thoughts. Matthieu Ricard, a respected Buddhist monk said: "One may wonder what people do in retreats, sitting for eight hours a day. They familiarize themselves with a new way of dealing with the arising of thoughts."
"When you start getting used to recognizing thoughts as they arise, it is like rapidly spotting someone you know in a crowd. When a powerful thought or anger arises, you recognize it. That helps you to avoid being overwhelmed by this thought." Self awareness is a powerful method of controlling your mind. But it requires a willingness to attribute difficulties to internal causes.
Awareness of the trigger points will bring acceptance. You will understand the many sincere people, who have a tendency to procrastinate. It is may not be possible to change their nature. You will understand those people and the worlds they manage, which operate more slowly than you would like. You will accept the need for repeated reminders. An acceptance of their weakness, along with calm reminders will avoid an impatient and confrontational approach.
JUST THINK... What happens when you are beginning to talk? Your nervous system is picking an emotion, articulating an idea around it, choosing apt words from a vocabulary of thousands of words, arranging them in lexical and grammatical order and adjusting the pitch of your voice. Before you speak you are having no consciousness of the words you will use. Who is actually taking charge? This question leads to the question "What is consciousness itself?" Is consciousness a spirit living in a human body? Is it a life form that emerges from the nervous system? This is the living hard problem of consciousness.