Mindful November

At the end of Octo­ber I fin­ished read­ing this book titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. So dur­ing this month, I hoped to prac­tice some of the things I learned from this book. Hence Mind­ful Novem­ber.

I liked the idea of con­serv­ing men­tal ener­gy that’s oth­er­wise wast­ed on small stuff so we can use it for the things that real­ly mat­ter. The cen­tral theme of this book is to help keep the lit­tle things from tak­ing over our lives.

I picked twelve things to prac­tice dur­ing Novem­ber. These rules sound like tru­isms, but as with all tru­isms, the chal­lenge is in prac­tic­ing. I failed mis­er­ably mul­ti­ple times when sit­u­a­tions have arisen. Late­ly some of my ducks are get­ting out of row (if they aren’t, they are not ducks, are they?). I would have saved a lot of men­tal ener­gy had I applied some of these rules. But alas, such is life!

It is not all bad though. I did well in some of them. For exam­ple, I am not an aggres­sive dri­ver but I am nei­ther saga­cious. I received a rather expen­sive speed­ing tick­et in mail dur­ing the Bay of Islands road trip last month. Much ear­li­er to this, since the start of the last year I decid­ed not to honk at any­one on the road, regard­less. Who knows what the oth­er dri­ver is going through. Every­one does mis­takes some­time. So there is no point in get­ting zeal­ous with horn as if I am saint­ly.

How­ev­er, I was only not honk­ing. I am still dis­turbed with­in when I see bad or dan­ger­ous dri­ving. This morn­ing some­one cut in front of me in the traf­fic. But this time, instead of feel­ing angry, I recalled the fol­low­ing from lines from the book and instant­ly felt bet­ter.

Why not sim­ply allow the dri­ver to have his acci­dent some­where else? Try to have com­pas­sion for the per­son and remem­ber how painful it is to be in such an enor­mous hur­ry. This way we can main­tain our own sense of well-being and avoid tak­ing oth­er peo­ple’s prob­lems per­son­al­ly.

And from the essay 57,

…you end up sav­ing no time in get­ting where you want to go.

Nev­er­the­less, I am an opti­mist and believe in prac­tice. So I will get going.

Here are the twelve things I will con­tin­ue to prac­tice.

Let oth­ers fin­ish.
Don’t inter­rupt oth­ers or fin­ish their sen­tences.

Let oth­ers be right.

Let oth­ers have the glo­ry.

Let oth­ers be more enlight­ened.
Imag­ine that every­one is enlight­ened except you.

Choose being kind over being right or being intel­li­gent.

Praise and blame are all the same.

Become a less aggres­sive dri­ver.

Think of what you have instead of what you want.

Look beyond behav­ior.

If some­one throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it.

When try­ing to be help­ful, focus on lit­tle things.

Mind your own busi­ness.
Avoid ana­lyz­ing or try­ing to fig­ure out oth­er peo­ple.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: