In our last Christmas party at my company, the American Institute for English Proficiency, I was in charge of buying the gifts for our games and giveaways. As co-founder, general manager, and teacher, I prefer buying gifts that would inspire our students, and I therefore headed to the bookstore to buy books as our prizes for the winners of our Christmas games. One book caught my eye in particular, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. I bought several other books that have inspired me throughout the years, but I was more interested in this book by Carlson because I had never read it before, and it contained information that was very similar to what I was teaching in my classes.
We played the games during our Christmas party, and lo and behold, most of our students actually wanted this book as their prize. However, I kept a copy for myself, and I have begun reading it. I have only leafed through a few pages (since each chapter is about a page and half long only), and I must say, I am quite inspired already. As the book suggests, it is a compilation of life advice and how we should stop letting the small things in our life from driving us crazy and thereby getting the best of us. It is about letting go. It is about acceptance. It is about peace of mind.
In this first chapter, aptly entitled “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” as well, I have learned that to keep everything in order, to achieve a zen-like lifestyle, that peace of mind we all so want, we need to remember two rules in life: 1) Don’t sweat the small stuff, and 2) Everything is all small stuff.
It doesn’t mean that we should stop taking life seriously. What it simply tells us is that there are things in life that we sometimes blow out of proportion, when really, things are still under control. Sometimes, we just over-analyze when we should just simplify, we get angry when should just forgive, we get stressed when we should just go with the flow. As a result, we let life get the best of us, and we become easily distracted and discombobulated instead of getting a better perspective so that we can move on doing the things we should be focusing on.
I am going to take this mantra with me this 2015. In fact, I have been instilling this in my mind for the past few days, and I must say, I am doing more “perceiving” than “reacting.” This means that instead of quickly reacting with emotions, I am perceiving my situations more with a sense of order and a sense of peace. I have hundreds more chapters to go, with each chapter relating to personal growth, business, and more. I can’t wait to share the rest of the book to my friends, colleagues, and students. It’s going to be a very different new year for me. I embrace 2015.