Monday, April 19, 2010

Homework, Lesson Four: Sweating the Small Stuff

If you've been dealing with life-changing stress for the past year, and your focus is on whether someone else has a driver's license, you are focusing on the wrong fucking thing. It's quite astonishing to me how petty and self-flagellating some people can be, to the extent that they hobble themselves in every single endeavor.

I watched somebody do this recently in their personal life - obsess over a minor detail, and miss a one-time-only opportunity. Of course, it's true in business as well.

I know we've all heard it said before - focus on the big picture. Choose your battles wisely.

There will be day-to-day setbacks. There will be slow afternoons. There will be soap batches that came out.... well, stinky. There will be moments of horrible self doubt, wondering where the rent payment will be coming from.

You will make yourself crazy if you keep your focus on the here and now. Watch the horizon, the long-term trends, the overall course. If you're a freeway driver, and you're any good at it, you know that you watch several car lengths ahead. If you just obsess over the bumper immediately ahead of you, and mutter angrily to yourself over the number of Qs they got in their license plate - unfairly, to be sure - you are NEVER going to move past this plate. You've just earned yourself a permanent spot behind that car.

So. Look up. Look out. Raise your viewpoint, expand your horizons. That way you can see how the road ahead moves and flows, you can enjoy the trip and allow yourself to plan your path.
Or keep your focus on the unfair plate right ahead of you and stay small and petty.

Your choice. Just remember who made the decision on how you'd be guided.

PS - yeah, that IS a picture of Tom Petty. Some concepts are surprisingly hard to illustrate.


Joanna said...

well said.
and illustrated.

Dreaming Tree Soapworks said...

Well said, this is just the sort of reminder I needed about now!


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