“Only a few things are really important.” – Marie Dressler
Recently, a few incidents have taken up a fair amount of my time. They caused a little bit of worry and occupied my attention for significant portions of my day. I found myself searching for a solution and creating all sorts of conceivable (some inconceivable) ways that they could play out. Ultimately, the situations resolved themselves due to circumstances beyond my control. This got me thinking about something I read recently, which I obviously did not take to heart and could have saved me vast amounts of worry, angst, and time.
All it required at the outset was asking the question: In five years, will this even matter?
The answer was obviously no (in fact, they did not even matter a week down the road), yet I dedicated several hours a day to seeking a resolution to situations out of my control.
How often do we do this on a daily or weekly basis?
We get so upset, worry, and pour so much energy into a “problem” that we cannot handle or, even worse, does not matter. We create problems for our problems. We set them up like an emotional obstacle course that we struggle to complete or that seems never-ending. We jump right in ready to tackle our next greatest issue when the most rational decision is to avoid making an issue out of it altogether.
When I was growing up, my mom always used to tell my sister and me, “If that is the worst thing you have to deal with, consider yourself lucky” (whenever we were griping about something or felt we were treated unfairly). This was simply her polite way of saying that your issue just is not that important, there are bigger fish to fry, or others have a lot worse things to deal with than you do. I suspect she received this bit of parenting wisdom from her dad, my Papaw, because I am certain I heard him offer it a time or two to her as well. Call it a continual lesson in perspective delivered only the way a parent can.
I could have used the reminder recently to ask myself, “In the grand scheme of things, does this (whatever I am upset about) really matter?”
We want to get so irate at the person who left the toilet seat up, the person who accidentally put sugar instead of just cream in our coffee, the person who cut us off in traffic, the person who in our opinion takes a bit too long to place a food order in front of us in line, the person who does not return our call right away, the person who is running a few minutes late, and on and on.
I am not saying your issues are invalid or invaluable because they certainly may be. It is just not worth it to let these trivial things control our mind and dictate our behaviors (a.k.a. “road rage”). There are much less stressful ways to resolve these “problems” that make us so angry.
Just take a moment before you work yourself into a frenzy and ask yourself…
Is this important? One week, one month, one year, five years from now, will this even matter?
Odds are, in the grand scheme of things, it won’t.
Bring your best today!