Don’t Sweat The Petty Stuff…

Learning to take the small problems in stride is an important part of learning not to sweat the petty stuff.

My daughter, who is now 11, is at that age where the only reality is the present, the now, the minute she exists within. So no matter what the day held before or after, if something “bad” happens to her—a disagreement with a friend, a stern look from the teacher, an interruption to her favorite pastimes—she will exclaim “This is the worse day EVER!”

It’s easy to chuckle and think, wow, is it really that bad? Did this one little moment in time make the whole day, the worse day EVER? We smile at her innocence, likely thinking, just wait, you’ve got a long way to go in life!

But if you stop and think about it, we all take this attitude when we let something small, something otherwise petty, affect our mood for the rest of the day or our impression of the quality of that day. Although we may not say it, we are often feeling, “This is the worse day EVER” when relatively small happens in the course of the day. It’s easy to think my little girl is exaggerating, but we do it all the time!

For example at work, we may see 20 or 30 clients, the majority of them pleasant, easy to work with, and leaving with a smile and sincere thank you. But we have that one client, the one who is intent to suck the life out of us, and we let it mar our entire day. They are fixated in our brains, and the rest of the day just isn’t as bright as it could be, as it should be. We go home thinking about that one adverse event, telling our friends or family about the “worst day ever” that we experienced with this one “bad” client. Why is that? Why is the negative energy so much stronger, that even 30 other positive experiences can’t outweigh its weight on our brains and moods?

It seems to be that as human beings, we are just prone to veer to the negative. For instance, have you ever stopped and really listened to that little voice inside your head? It’s rarely saying, “Wow, you are the best technician/receptionist/manager/veterinarian EVER, you are so awesome! You can fix ANYthing! You rock!”

Seriously, have you ever overheard this conversation in your head? Likely not. Likely it sounds something like this in there, “Geez, is this day ever going to be over? I’ve had it with my boss/coworker/etc. I don’t get paid enough to put up with this…” and on and on. Heaven forbid you do something wrong, then you have absolutely no mercy on yourself! It’s human nature but it can be changed.

It takes effort to embrace positive thinking. It requires attention to every thought coming through your head, the stifling of that little voice that wants to destroy your happiness, a constant filter of what you’re saying, doing, and feeling. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely! If you’ve ever heard of The Secret, the Law of Attraction to be more specific, it simply says that sending out positive energy brings in positive energy…and the opposite is likewise true…negative energy will only bring you more misery. The “worse day EVER” will become the “worse week EVER” and so on. So fight that little voice, filter your thoughts, pay attention to feeling good about life.

After all, as Steven Tyler recently said on the American Idol auditions, “Don’t sweat the petty stuff, and don’t pet the sweaty stuff!”


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