Have you ever seen someone complain about a parking ticket as if it’s the end of the world?
Have you been cut off in traffic and let it ruin your whole day?
How many times have you let your experience at the airport (crying baby, delayed flight, missing luggage) be the first thing you bring up in conversations with friends?
I want you to repeat after me: “these things happen”.
We all have these types of events come up in life, but successful people just go on as if nothing has happened, and unsuccessful people let it derail them.
The next time you feel a surge of anger coming on over an insignificant event in your life, go over these points in your head:
- You look like an idiot There is no polite way to put this. When others around you see you COMPLETELY lose it over the dent in your car door, they aren’t feeling sorry for you and wondering how they can help. They are subconsciously judging you and coming to one inescapable conclusion: you aren’t in control of your life.
If something this small throws you off, imagine how you’d react to a REAL problem in life. Overreacting tells the people around you that you can’t be trusted to deal with important issues. You’re not the goto guy (or gal) when they’re in need, because you can’t even take care of yourself.
- The only person you’re hurting is yourself Did you ever realize that when you get upset at someone who cuts you off in traffic, they generally never even know? Usually they speed off never the wiser to your insults and gestures. By getting angry, you’re doing zero harm to them while simultaneously hurting yourself even more. That doesn’t make much sense, and is a waste of your precious time and energy.
Now heres the zinger. What if that person purposely WANTED to upset you (they have some subconscious need to pick on others, they’re parents didn’t love them enough, etc)? Well then they are getting the exact reaction they wanted, and you’re playing right into they hands.
If you really want to mess with someone who flips you off in traffic, try smiling and waving back, and watch the confused look on their face. With time, you can even learn to appreciate and love these people (bizarre I know) for the important role they serve in life: helping to remind you how NOT to live. Don’t judge them, they are just at a different point in understanding life.
- Find something to be grateful about So you’re sitting there in rush hour traffic about ready to tear your hair out. Train yourself to go right into gratitude, and start listing what you’re grateful for and what good can come from this situation.
Maybe its the perfect time to make a phone call to a loved one you’ve been putting off. Maybe you can get some “reading” done on that audio book you’re listening to and be grateful for the chance to learn something new. Maybe its just a chance to put things in perspective and marvel at how far technology has come. After all, primitive mankind would have had to walk this distance. You get to SIT in an air conditioned chair barely pushing the accelerator.
There is something good in every situation, and you can find it. Even if its just that you’re grateful for the chance to practice being grateful.
Unsuccessful people are REACTIVE. They are a leaf blowing in the wind, the world is happening around them, and they are just trying to stay alive. When something bad happens, someone did it TO them and they take it personally. They get caught up in the victim mentality and take every opportunity to let people know it.
Successful people, on the other hand, are PROACTIVE. They make things happen in life and are on a mission. And by golly, they aren’t going to let some silly parking ticket take them off their mission. Instead, they say to themselves “these things happen” and move on to more important tasks.