If you live in Metro Manila, or any crowded city for that matter, then chances are you know how bad traffic can get. I personally don’t drive yet (I’m learning!!!) but even as a passenger it easily steals whatever time and energy I have left at the end of the day—just like today.
When I finally reached home after two hours on the road, I was in a less-than-stellar mood. But as luck would have it, I chanced upon an old favorite: Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” For Teens, given to me in high school by my own optimist of a mother. (Hi, mom!)
In less than thirty minutes, this handy manual managed to turn my bad mood completely around. Yeah, traffic still sucks (and unless we make some serious changes here, it will stay that way), but I was reminded that it’s useless to stay affected about something beyond my control. In stressful situations, keeping your cool is a choice you can make and it can make life so much lighter.
That’s really the main message of this little book, plus a lot more empowering advice, written in exactly 100 inspiring micro-chapters. Whether it’s about getting stuck in traffic, or worrying about your future, Richard Carlson knows just what to say.
And since I owe it to him for knocking some positivity back into me tonight, I’d like to share 5 of my favorite nuggets of wisdom from this self-help classic:
1. Drop the drama: “The problem with sweating the small stuff is that there is, and always will be, an endless supply of things to sweat over…As you learn to let some of these things go, you’ll find yourself experiencing far less stress and aggravation. You’ll be left with more mental energy and creativity in order to live life to its fullest.”
2. Dare to show enthusiasm: “I’ve found that while it’s almost impossible to succeed without enthusiasm (regardless of how smart or gifted you might be), it’s also quite difficult, with enough enthusiasm, to fail. It’s that important.”
3. Don’t sweat the future: “It’s always been reassuring to know that I guarantee my best possible future by making today all it can be…This realization seems to take away the urgency and fear associated with not knowing what’s going to happen.”
4. This too shall pass: “When you are absolutely certain that everything will pass, it is much easier to let go of things, especially “small stuff.” This perspective allows you to know that everything will be okay. It gives you hope and confidence that things aren’t as bad as they seem.”
5. Continue your journey: “You don’t have to make giant changes overnight to become a less stressed person…Instead, focus on the little things: a change here, another one there. Pretty soon, it all starts to add up.”
I hope some of you learned something tonight that you can take with you tomorrow—be it be a traffic-free day or not. Remember, don’t sweat the small stuff!
You can grab a copy of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” For Teens (or any of Carlson’s other titles) in bookstores near you. You can also check out the official “Don’t Sweat” website here.