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Mar 01 2018
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and it's all Small Stuff) Book Review
DeAnna Leahy, CCE, Sunroc Corporation

I have been reading the book, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, (and it's all Small Stuff), by Richard Carson. We are reading this book as a credit department team, and I have found some extremely helpful information for both my personal and professional life contained in the pages. I have enjoyed it so much, that I have essentially read the book twice and have purchased it as an audiobook as well. 

In a nutshell, you have to learn to put your little struggles into perspective, and by doing so, you gain more enjoyment and appreciation of other people and life in general. The book is set up by giving the reader 100 strategies to avoid struggles. These strategies are elaborated in short essays, which makes the book an easy read.

The most important aspect of the book is its realization of the demands of our modern life, as well as the culture in which we live. We try vacation, meditation, and relaxation, but when we go back to our normal lives, we go back to getting angry at other drivers, worried about little problems, and frustrated with not having enough time to do the things we need and want to do.

So, how do we bring peace and perspective into the moment by moment of real life? This is Carlson's fascinating question. He acknowledges that you cannot completely get rid of the worry and frustration, but he gives suggestions and ideas of how to put them into a larger context.

Most of Carlson's ideas are relatively simple. A few of his ideas to put worries into perspective are:

  • Become an early riser. Getting up early gives Carlson a 'golden hour' in which to read, meditate, and think about the day in peace and solitude.
  • Relaxed people can be achievers too. We tend to equate a frantic life with high achieving individuals, and that becoming more peaceful may equate with apathy or laziness. However frantic thinking can diminish motivation and real success from our lives.
  • Don't interrupt others. This is a simple yet effective way of becoming a more relaxed and loving person.
  • Learn to live in the present moment. As John Lennon said: 'Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans'. If we pay attention to the present moment, the fear that we experience about the imaginary future will not exist.
  • Allow yourself to be bored. Don't be afraid to have a vacant moment. You might be surprised at how effective it is to clear the mind and provide new thoughts.
  • Redefine meaningful accomplishments. Instead of always thinking of an accomplishment as an external thing, ask yourself about the achievements that you have made internally. This could be things like staying centered and calm in the face of adversity.
  • Be open to the 'what is'. The world is frequently not how we would like it to be. If you learn to accept the 'what is' and not automatically become emotional about it, it will slip by without as much damage.
  • Be grateful when you're feeling good and graceful when you're feeling bad.
  • Be happy where you are.

Although the book is quite simplistic, it demonstrates how closely our feelings are the product of our thoughts. By becoming more conscious of what you are thinking, you are in a position to change your thoughts and therefore your feelings.