Having patience isn't very sexy. And it isn't quite as talked about as having impatience: complaining about waiting at a red light, or being stuck in a giant line that just won't move, is far more common than commenting on pleasant it was to wait... and wait... and wait. But the ability to put up with a bit of discomfort now in exchange for a future reward is not only helpful in the now — it can also be a rewarding psychological trait. If you're someone whose blood boils over the second you have to wait for something, though, there's good news: you can develop more patience by tricking your brain.
One of the most famous studies on impulse control was recently called under scrutiny, and it could impact what we understand about patience. The marshmallow test, as it's known, tested whether children who were given a marshmallow would choose to eat it immediately, and receive nothing, or wait ten minutes, and receive two marshmallows. The researchers of the original study claimed that the more willpower the kids had, the better their lives would be when they were adults. New research that tries to replicate this has found that marshmallow tests don't actually determine how a kid's life goes; patience when you're four doesn't seem to have that much of a role in future health or happiness. (What does matter, according to the new data, is how well-off your parents are.)
So patience isn't something we have or don't have from a young age — and you can develop more patience as you age. How do you do it? Science is here to help.