I am a rather good listener. I’m as non-judgemental as anyone could be. I try to see the proverbial two sides to every story in order to give sound advice. I call on experience whenever possible. I admit when I have nothing to offer.
I try to walk in the shoes of the person I’m listening to.
Lately, it seems that a lot of people in my circle have a lot to talk about… some big things, others small. I try not to use expressions like don’t sweat the small stuff with the small stuff because the small stuff is often BIG stuff to the person sweating the small stuff. See what I mean?
And I very rarely try to tell the person with the small stuff that there are lots of people sweating the BIG stuff, making their stuff seem not only small, but completely insignificant.
But lots of small stuff is on the plates of many people I know. Stuff like: 1) my neighbor mows his lawn too early and wakes up the baby; 2) my housekeeper raised her fee $25.00; 3) Whole Foods doesn’t carry my favorite coconut juice anymore; 4) my mother-in-law changed her summer visit from one week to ten days; 5) I need to return to my nursery 3 bushes that aren’t growing. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Anyway, as I said, I try to walk in the shoes of the person I’m listening to.
And this brings me to this morning, while on a 30-minute run. If I plan to run for 30 minutes (or any amount of time), I like to stick to that goal. I don’t want to stop. But this morning, I had a rock in my running shoe. I kept running, clocking off the minutes, but it became so annoying that I finally had to stop to empty that rock from my shoe. Sure, it took some time away from my run. I had to sit down, untie my shoe, empty it (the rock was the size of a mere pinhead, by the way), re-tie and begin again.
But as I put that foot forward to run again, I felt such exhilaration at that rock being gone. When I checked my watch, I realized that it had taken me less than 60 seconds to empty my shoe… practically no time at all.
And it got me to thinking about my friends who are concerned about noise or money or 3 days or coconut juice or puny bushes. This is my advice… in the time it takes you to talk about it or think about it, you could have the problem resolved by doing something about it. Talk to your neighbor. Tell your housekeeper that you cannot afford the extra money. It’s only 3 days. Go to another store. Dig up the bushes that are ruining your life.
EMPTY THE ROCKS IN YOUR SHOES.
Please believe me when I say that I am not diminishing your stuff… I am, rather, offering a way to deal with it. It will make your run through this life a lot more pleasant.
(ps: I love each of you!)