Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
I consider myself to be a rational person. I believe that I am of sound mind and have all my wits about me. However, there is always room for improvement in some way shape or form. Although I am becoming more content with myself as a person, I realized that there are some things that I would like to change. Where would I start?
I went shopping. Not for anything in particular, but just to do some soul-searching. A couple of shirts and a pair of pants later, I realized that changing my outward appearance wouldn’t exactly help me to become any more in tune with myself. Sure, clothing does help shape other people’s opinion of you, but at the end of the day does it really make you feel any better that Mrs. Jones thinks you are a sharp dresser. In fact, Mrs. Jones is probably making a mad dash to the same store to join your latest fashion craze. Hmmm, not too helpful, so what’s next?
I went to the movies. (OK, so I needed a break. Thinking can be difficult at times.) It wasn’t three minutes after I had gotten there that I realized I was the only person there alone. As I paraded up and down the aisle, I wondered how many of the all-of-a-sudden chuckles were about me. Where I see it as being OK to do stuff on your own, including catching a movie, it was apparent that I was probably the only person who felt that way. After a few moments, a saving grace walked through the door. A male, probably in his early forties, strolled down the aisle and sat a few rows ahead of me. I was so happy that the audience of moviegoers now had some new material. I wanted to go up to him and give a high five for joining me as a soloist, but then I thought all the attention would turn back to me so I just smiled to myself. I was still smiling when this lady strolled down the aisle and sat next to him. Apparently this was his wife, who had obviously hung back to grab the popcorn and a soda. Umm, back to square one.
Next, I went to the place where I should have started anyway. If I had looked there first, then maybe I would not be receiving the credit card bills for the clothing I just had to have. It was a book store. I immediately went to the self-help section (well, after reading a couple magazines, of course). I was amazed at all the books that were available. They had everything from learning to manage your time wisely, to learning how to communicate better, to learning how to get along with your boss. Couldn’t we all use as much help as we can get in these areas?
Finally, I located a small book that was titled "Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff...and it’s all small stuff." I immediately looked at the back of the book to get to the part that interested me most, the price. With an $11.95 staring back at me, I figured that this would be my starting point.
While looking through the table of contents I realized that I wouldn’t have to finish the book before I could see results. After reading a couple of chapters, it dove into a subject that I know I need lots of work on. I need so much work in this area that I’m thinking of calling a
contractor to run some estimates. It’s a virtue called patience.
For those of you that don’t know what I mean by patience, I’ll give you a breakdown. Lets play a game. Lets play "You May Need Patience If." Give yourself 20 points for each item that describes you.
You may need patience if:
* You go shopping for about 30 minutes and decide that you really don’t need any of that stuff in your cart when you see the lines at the registers.
* You get caught in a traffic jam on your way home from work and you argue with yourself for 10 minutes about how frustrating the situation is when the only thing on your agenda when you get home is to take out the trash.
* You get upset when the person in front of you in the line at Walmart appears to have searched the whole store for that one item that doesn’t have a price on it.
* You’re on an elevator on the first floor with eight other people. You’re angered when you look at the lights on the elevator and realize that it’s going to stop at every floor and you work on the 10th.
* You get upset when the person in front of you is only driving 45 mph, and you could care less that the speed limit is 35.
I, personally, am guilty of a couple of these things. In fact my score is divisible by 20 and 25. It was obvious that I needed some help. The book pointed out that I needed to stop acting as if everything has to be done right this minute. It does not suggest that you be lazy, but instead to take time to smell the roses. Will it matter tomorrow that the guy in front of you in the 10 items or less line has 12 items? How much off schedule will we really be just because we catch a few red lights? I used to be so frustrated when it appeared that just because I was pressed for time it seemed that I would catch every red light. But the truth is, I was probably going to be late regardless.
After reading the book I have really learned to start putting things in perspective. Of course, I haven’t become Mr. Patient overnight. But starting off with small things and realizing
that life is minute to minute, has really helped a lot. Now when I stand in line behind that person who needs that price check I think about other things like what I’ll cook that night, or what recreational activities I could participate in during the week. Why not take the moment to relax? Breathe? Release some tension?
Patience has become the first step to my self discovery. Who would have known I would have found it in a book? Now that I have started working on my patience, I guess I need to move on to bigger, better things, like what I’m going to wear tomorrow. Hmm, I guess I’ll start at the grocery store.
All work found on www.mikeyllo.com written and copyrighted
by the author, Michael Rochelle, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.