Excerpt of Don't Sweat The Small Stuff by Dr Richard Carlson
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1. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
0ften we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon
closer examination, aren't 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. We play out an
imaginary confrontation in our mind. Many of us might even tell someone else about the
incident later on rather than simply let it go.
Why not instead simply allow the driver 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
This way, we can maintain our own sense of well-being and avoid taking other people's
There are many similar, 'small stuff' examples that occur every day in our
lives. Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion's share
of the work, it pays enormous dividends if we learn not to worry about little things.
So many people spend so much of their life energy "sweating the stuff" that
they completely lose touch with the magic and beauty of life. When you commit to working
toward this goal you will find that you will have far more energy to be kinder and
7. Don't Interrupt Others or Finish Their Sentences
It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized how often I interrupted others and/or
finished their sentences. Shortly thereafter, I also realized how destructive this habit
was, not only to the respect 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! Think about it for a moment.
When you hurry someone along, interrupt someone, or finish his or her sentence, you have
to keep track not only of your own thoughts but o those of the person you are interrupting
as well. This tendency (which, by the way, is extremely common in busy people), encourages
both parties to speed up their speech and their 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?
Once you begin noticing yourself interrupting others, you'll see that this insidious
tendency is nothing more than an innocent habit that has become invisible to you. This is
good news because it means that all you really have to do is to begin catching yourself
when you forget. Remind yourself (before a conversation begins, if possible) to be patient
and wait. Tell yourself to allow the other person to finish speaking before you take your
turn. You'll notice, right away, how much the interactions with the people in your life
will improve as a direct result of this simple act. The people you communicate with will
feel much more relaxed around you when they feel heard and listened to. You'll also notice
how much more relaxed you'll feet 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. This is an easy way to become a more relaxed, loving person.
16. Ask Yourself the Question, "Will This Matter a Year from Now?"
Almost every day I play a game with myself that I call "time warp" I made
it up in response to my consistent, erroneous belief that what I was all worked up about
was really important.
© Dr Richard Carlson 1997. Published by