May 25th, 2011



The little things. Sweat them not. Broad strokes are ideal for general feelings of well-being. We can always control broad strokes, even when using the Butterfly Effect of Chaos Theory - changing one very tiny thing to see how it unfolds. Less simple is attempting to control the outcome of many threads simultaneously. So don't. That path leads only to frustration. Learn instead to appreciate the outcomes you can control. In a word, yourself. You are the single-most important variable to any of your scenarios. You're also the easiest thing for you to manipulate. When you are finding it exceedingly difficult to change a situation you're unhappy with, change your perspective by changing yourself. Suddenly, its no longer an obstacle. Its an assist. Wow!

No, its not magic. And sure its difficult - anything worth doing is. But only its unfamiliarity makes it so. Start small. Try it with little things. Try it on for size. See how it feels. Don't go too far outside your comfort zone, but go far enough. What do I mean? Its like this: What you're doing now is obviously not working, so you really have nothing to lose, despite the initial discomfort of uncertainty. Once you've had a few small successes - and failures, don't forget the importance of failure - you can branch out even further. Utilize your newfound power on even larger issues to tackle. Bam!

Case in point: Recently I came up against a real prick of a Project Manager. While its true that it takes a certain personality type to excel in that role, its not a prerequisite to be a dick. Nonetheless, there are those who enjoy flexing muscles they're disallowed from flexing elsewhere in their lives. Regardless, I found myself stuck with him. My first reaction I'm now embarrassed to say was overt disdain. Mind you, I also had my reasons - very good reasons. But that doesn't make how I reacted any more honorable. As things were coming to a head, I decided on an alternate strategy. I would kill him with kindness!

Respect is earned. Nonetheless, I chose to pretend to respect this man, his position, and his authority. I thought that by pretending to respect him, at some point I might trick myself into *actually* respecting him. Guess what? It was easier than I anticipated. The more respectful I became, the less of a dick he was. I also found that he was good at what he did, and a strong contender to have in my corner when things on the project temporarily turned South. The best part? My life was now much, much easier. The conflict was gone and I greatly multiplied the effectiveness, and joy, in my daily activities. All these wonderful things because I chose to not be a dick back.

Its not magic. It just seems like it because its such a foreign concept. We all wonder from time to time how so-and-so manages to always seem so content at everything life is throwing at them. Now you know. The best part? This is one of those experiments you CAN try at home!