Keep Things in Perspective
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty good at making mountains out of molehills. I can spend way more time worrying about making a decision than I should. I know this increases my stress unnecessarily. I have to remind myself not to sweat the small stuff. And that most everything is small stuff.
In her book 10-10-10, Suzy Welch describes a method for making decisions. The process starts by framing the dilemma you are facing as a question. Should I stay late for a last-minute meeting instead of going to my son’s tennis match? Should I tell someone something they don’t want to hear? Should I spend this much money on a piece of furniture? Once you have identified the issue you need to resolve, ask yourself what the consequences of your options would be in ten minutes? In ten months? In ten years? Welch refers to this strategy as a “life management tool”. The process makes it easier to make decisions by helping us clarify the short- and long-term implications of our choices.
I think 10-10-10 is a great way to help us keep things in perspective. Remembering to look at the big picture is an important strategy for increasing positivity. When I’m stressing about making a decision it can be very helpful to remind myself that I most likely won’t even remember my current dilemma a few months from now. As a parent of teens it also helps to remind myself that it won’t be long before they forget how mad they are at me for not letting them do what they are asking to do.
So the next time you are stressing over something, take a minute to ask yourself: Will this matter in a year? Hopefully this will help you realize that something that seems extremely momentous right now will probably be pretty insignificant in the not so far off future. So take a deep breath and stop sweating the small stuff!