Today, when I am greeted with “how’s it going”, the current social equivalent of “hello”, I humbly yet earnestly respond: “I am the luckiest cat on the planet.” (And I mean it!) Some people think I’m just being a smart ass, but I’m not–I feel it deep in my core. I know it. I get to do meaningful work with people I like, I know I’m making a difference, and I love doing it. Usually, things go smooth and everything is roses.
Sometimes, little things can start to chip away at my day until they eventually burrow in and blow up. The combined impacts start to grow tiresome, tedious, and then frustrating. Oddly, it bugs me that I let things bug me. That certainly seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? When this starts to happen, I try to take a step back, breath in, and remember: this is only a very minor first world problem.
To be clear, this realization doesn’t dismiss the issue or frustration at hand. It is important to acknowledge that it is real and how to deal with it. (Whatever “it” may be.) After I have done this, I take a breath and remember that in the grand scheme of things I am not missing any meals, I don’t have to worry about clean water, and I don’t live in a war zone; everyone I know can read, has a roof over their head, heat, and a refrigerator with food in it. Yes, the fact that the printer just exploded, ate the paper, and stole 20 minutes of my time is a genuine pain in the ass, but I’m far from being a child soldier. Sure, I need to address the printer, but as far as getting really frustrated? Well, that is truly a first world problem. Perspective is everything–I need to keep that on the radar first and foremost.
This comes directly out of one of my recent mentoring sessions where someone was feeling down about all of the little things. They really liked the idea of looking at their issues through a lens of what they really were and thankfully, what they weren’t. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose perspective, especially in a moment of frustration.
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