Be the water – choose to avoid daily frustration

This short film is brilliant! We have all been there. Someone does something kind of minor, but because of your state of mind you blow it out of proportion and get really frustrated … and then you find out something tragic is currently happening to them. Yes, you feel terrible!

Now multiply that across all interactions throughout your daily life and your little judgments about other peoples actions add up to a deluge of frustration for you.

The answer? Choose not to think of yourself as the center of the universe and remove all those little judgments you make about people. Refuse to let the way they impact on your egocentric little world bother you. We have all had bad things happen to us and been “irrational” as a result. If people are doing things that get to you, choose to let it flow over you. Be the water.

This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life. A short film based on extracts of David Foster Wallace’s commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. You can read the full speech here

There are so many times in the day, that simply choosing to see the bright side can make my outlook better. The car is a prime example. I have noticed that when the roads are empty I drive considerably slower, which is very counter intuitive. 

This is often not because I am in a greater rush when the roads are busy, as I generally leave enough time, it is simply because I allow myself to be frustrated by the drivers around me. Can I change the way they drive? No. Would I arrive at much the same time, but far less frazzled if I just went with the flow? Yes!

I know what you are thinking….but if I dodge and weave cars on the road I will get there faster…. I still recall the time I was driving in a column of cars, that was moving a little bit below the speed limit, but moving smoothly. Suddenly I heard a roar as a car recklessly overtook me. The driver continued to play chicken with oncoming cars as he hopped his way along the column.

An hour later when I arrived at the destination, I watched him get out of his car. He must have gained a minute or two and almost, yet had dozens of near collisions…. worth it, NO.

It won’t always be easy for me to let it go, but it is a practice and a choice. Control over my life always puts me in a better mental place.

I suspect I will continue to get irritated by that person that stood in the check-out queue in front of me for 10min, then waited till all the groceries were packed away before realizing that they may actually have to pay for what they are buying and spend the next 20min digging into their purse pulling out all manner of stuff, answering a phone call, cleaning their nails…. then spending another 20min repacking that purse, whilst the checkout attendant smiles sheepishly and the rest of the people in line sigh and get jittery…. I choose to think that they really did think the groceries would be free….i choose to think that a tragic event is stopping them from being courteous ….ahhh it isn’t working!

I will try to incorporate this idea into my daily routine and act spontaneously, with a smile and an open heart. It won’t hurt others, it may even improve their day  and it certainly will help me.

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