I was complaining to my college roommate about a slight by a friend when he exclaimed, “Enough! It wasn’t that big of a deal. Let it go. ” I was accustomed to things going my way and when they didn’t, it was a big deal.
In today’s society many people are unable to differentiate between the small and the big stuff: everyday words become major insults; a lawsuit over a bad meal; laws passed because people are inconvenienced; the firing of a celebrity from a televisions series occasions headlines for a week. It wasn’t always this way.
The men I worked with on my father’s roofing and sheet metal crews didn’t sweat the small stuff—they knew what was important. Some had labored to feed a family during the Great Depression—one told me his children lived with his brothers and sisters while he worked at a CCC camp. Others recounted the horrors and hardships encountered fighting in World War II and the Korean conflict.
Their generation shook off the “small stuff,” conquered the “big stuff” and, with hard work and perseverance, created the foundation for the prosperity we enjoy. Staring down hunger, fighting wars and working to build a better future for their children, they didn’t have time for petty issues.
I learned “big stuff” is going to come your way—everyone is going to deal with tragedy, illness and disappointment. If every day inconveniences and perceived slights throw you for a loop, you will be unprepared to handle the major crises of life.
Here’s the deal: if something doesn’t radically change your life, then it’s probably not a big deal. Lives are not changed by a car not starting; someone’s heritage being insulted or the Gators losing a football game. A loved one suffering a life threatening illness; getting fired or a house burning down are radical changes.
A lack of perspective as to what matters, results in an inability to differentiate between annoyances and life-changing events. If every inconvenience, slight or mistake becomes mind consuming, then life becomes a continuing crisis leaving little time for anything or anyone.
High Blood Pressure
“One way to get high blood pressure is to go mountain climbing over mole hills.” – Anonymous