Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Posted on December 2, 2010


and it’s ALL small stuff.

Seriously. The other day at Book Off (my FAVORITE store here) I got 6 books for $6.30. So amazing. One of the books I got was “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff”. This is an amazing book. i already try to live by the principles outline to minimize my stress and live in a more healthy and productive way, but we all need praxis. Anyway, I felt compelled to share the chapters i’ve gone through so far and the key elements of each one, hopefully it can reach someone, inspire them, speak to them. If these quotes speak to you buy the book. Buy it for someone you know. Personally I will be taking one of these chapters on each day in an attempt to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life. I have a verrryyyy strong feeling it will work. Not as an end-all, but as a very positive step in creating a solid foundation of compassion, respect and human connectedness that I know I need to live a fulfilling and happy life.

Chapter 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff. we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examinatino, arent really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion. A stranger, for example, might cut in front of us in traffic. rather than let it go, and go on with our day, we convince ourselves that we are justified in our anger… Why not instead simply allow the drive to have his accident somewhere else? Try to have compassion for the person and remember how painful it is to be in such an enormous hurry. This way we can maintain our own sense of welll-being and avoid taking other people’s problems personally.

2. Make Peace with Imperfection. The need for perfection and the desire for inner tranquility conflict with each other. whenever we are attached to having something a certain way, better than it already is, we are, almost by definition, engaged in a losing battle. Rather than being content and grateful for what we have, we are focused on what’s wrong with something and our need to fix it. When we are zeroed in on what’s wrong, it implies that we are dissatisfied, discontent….This strategy has nothing to do with ceasing to do your very best but with being overly attached and focused on what’s wrong with life. It’s about realizing that while there’s always a better way to do something, this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy and appreciate the way things already are

3: Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be superachievers. One of the major reasons so many of us remain hurried, frightened, and competitive, and continue to live life as if it were one giant emergency, is our fear that if we were to become more peaceful and loving, we would suddenly stop achieving our goals… Any success that you do have is despite your fear, not because of it..When you have what you want (inner peace), you are less distracted by your wants needs, desires, and concerns. It’s thus easier to concentrate, focus, achieve your goals, and to give back to others.

4. Be aware of the snowball effect of your thinking. A powerful technique for becoming more peaceful is to be aware of how quickly your negative and insecure thinking can spiral out of control. Have you ever noticed how uptight you feel when you’re caught up in your thinking?…The solution is to notice what’s happening in your head before your thoughts have a chance to build any momentum…You may indeed be a busy person, but remember that filling your head with thoughts of how overwhelmed you are only exacerbates the problem by making you feel even more stressed than you already do.

5. Develop Your Compassion. Nothing helps us build our perspective more than developing compassion for others… It’s the recognition that other people’s problems, their pain and frustrations, are very bit as real as our own – often far worse…Compassion is something you can develop with practice…Compassion develops your sense of gratitude by taking your attention off all the little things that most of us have learned to take too seriously. When you take time, often, to reflection the miracle of life – the miracle that you are even able to read this book – the gift of sight, of love, and all the rest, it can help to remind you that many of the things that you think of as “big stuff” are really just “small stuff” that you are turning into big stuff.

6. Remind yourself that when you die, your “in basket” wont be empty. So many of us live our lives as if the secret purpose is to somehow get everything done. We stay up late, get up early, avoid having fun, and keep our loved ones waiting…The nature of your “in basket” is that it’s meant to have items to be completed in it – it’s not meant to be empty…I find that if I remind myself (frequently) that the purpose of life isn’t’ to get it all done but to enjoy each step along the way and live a life filled with love, it’s far easier for me to control my obsession with completing my list of things to do.

7. Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences. It wasn’t until a few years ago that i realized how often i interrupted othes and/or finished their sentences. Shortly thereafter, I also realized how destructive this habit was, not only to the repect and love I received from others but also for the tremendous amount of energy it takes to try to be in two heads at once!..This tendency (which by the way, is extremely common in busy people), encourages both parties to speed up their speech and thinking. This, in turn makes both people nervous, irritable, and annoyed. It’s downright exhausting. It’s also the cause of many arguments, because if there’s one thing almost everyone resents, it’s someone who doesn’t listen to what they are saying. And how can you really listen to what someone is saying when you are speaking for that person? …You’ll also notice how much more relaxed you’ll feel when you stop interrupting others. Your heart and pulse rates will slow down, and you’ll begin to enjoy your conversations rather than rush through them.

8. Do something nice for someone else – and don’t tell anyone about it. While many of us frequently do nice things for others, we are almost certain to mention our acts of kindness to someone else, secretly seeking their approval.  When we share our own niceness or generosity with someone else, it makes us feel like we are thoughtful people, it reminds us of how nice we are and how deserving we are of kindness. While all acts of kindness are inherently wonderful, there is something even more magical about doing something thoughtful but mentioning it to no one, ever. You always feel good when you give to others. Rather than diluting the positive feelings by telling others…by keeping it to yourself you get to retain all the positive feelings

9. Let others have the glory. There is something magical that happens to the human spirit, a sense of calm that comes over you, when you cease needing all the attention directed toward yourself and instead allow others to have the glory. Our need for excessive attention is that ego-centered part of us that says, “look at me. i’m special. my story is more interesting that yours.” It’s that voice inside of us that may not come right out and say it, but wants to believe that “my accomplishments are slightly more important than yours.” The ego is that part of us that wants to be seen, heard, respected, considered special, often at the expense of someone else…Although it’s a difficult habit to break, it’s not only enjoyable but actually peaceful to have the quiet confidence to be able to surrender your need for attention and instead share in the joy of someone else’s glory…The person you are speaking to with have so much more fun and, because you are so much more “present,” because you are listening so carefully, he or she won’t feel in competition with you…I’m referring here to the compulsive need to grab [glory and attention] from others. Ironically when you surrender your need to hog the glory, the attention you used to need from other people is replaced by a quiet inner confidence

10. Learn to live in the present moment. We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present moments, so much so that we end up anxious, frustrated, depressed, and hopeless…John Lennon once said, “Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.” When we’re busy making “other plans,” our children are busy growing up, the people we love are moving away and dying, our bodies are getting out of shape, and our dreams are slipping away. In short, we miss out on life. Practice keeping your attention on the here and now

11. Imagine that Everyone is enlightened except you. This strategy gives you a chance to practice something that is probably completely unacceptable to you. The people you meet are all here to teach you something. Perhaps the obnoxious driver or disrespectful teenager is here to teach you about patience, the punk rocker might be here to teach you to be less judgmental. Your job is to try and determine what the people in your life are trying to teach you. You’ll find if you do this, you’ll be far less annoyed, bothered, and frustrated by the actions and imperfections of other people.

12. Let others be “right” most of the time. One of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is, “do i want to be ‘right’ – or do i want to be happy?” Many times, the 2 are mutually exclusive! Being right, defending our positions, takes an enormous amount of mental energy and often alienates us from the people in our lives…Many people, consciously or unconsciously, believe that it’s somehow their job to show others how their positions, statements, and points of view are incorrect, and that in doing so, the person they are correcting is going to somehow appreciate it, or at least learn something. Wrong!…We all want our positions to be respected and understood by others…As hard as it may be to change this habit, it’s worth any effort and practice it takes…The people in your life will become less defensive and more loving…You’ll discover the joy of participating in and witnessing other people’s happiness, which is far more rewarding than a battle of egos. You don’t have to sacrifice your deepens philosophical truths or most heartfelt opinions..

That’s it for tonight. Happy soul searching 🙂 Goodnight.

Posted in: Uncategorized