The next trait in the list of traits of happy people is don’t sweat the small stuff. I have really enjoyed thinking at writing about the list of the traits that happy people have. This is really one of the most difficult for me to not do. We are in an industry and most of us were raised with the axiom if you take care of the little things, the rest will take care of its self. I don’t believe that this trait means that we shouldn’t continue taking care of the little things, those little things do add up and make the big things possible.
Rather, I believe that this trait is talking about the trivial things. The things that we can’t control or fix. Sometimes these “little things” are actually quite large. We can’t control how or what another person thinks about us, we can make a good impression, we can do all the right things and may encounter someone who is having a bad day or whatever. We can not control another’s thoughts nor actions, so why worry about. I do believe it is ok to take stock of the encounter and if we need to, make changes. What we shouldn’t do is dwell on these sort of things.
I believe that I just like everyone else in the World is going to make mistakes, it is human nature. Mistakes are stepping stones, something to learn from improve upon, then move on. We get ourselves in trouble when we dwell on them. I don’t know how many times I have run across a former classmate, recognized them, then immediately thought of something that I may have said to them or done to them that they may have had reason to be offended over. What I am finding out is that a lot of years have gone by (a lot more than I am going to admit to) and honestly, they either don’t remember what I have thought of, or it doesn’t matter! Most of them are just happy to see me, they want to know what I am doing and what I have been up to.
I used the example of personal interaction with other people because it is so easy to illustrate and explain, but how often do we lay awake at night scrutinizing every detail of the past day? If it is once, it is too many! I know, I do it and I am sure that most people out there do the same. I am coming to realize that if I have done my best it doesn’t make it error free, but it was my best effort. I should dwell upon the mistakes that I have made just long enough to find a correction that I can do to make it right and MOVE ON. Losing sleep over something is just not worth it! We are only capable of doing our best, very rarely will that mean perfection.
I love sports, yet I cringe when I hear an athlete, salesperson or anyone else exclaim that I am going to give it 110%. Balderdash! You can only give it at most 100%. I am not saying that we always give the full 100%, and if we were honest, most of us could give a lot more of our effort. The maximum that we can give is 100%. It is okay, that is all that we can give, there is almost always room for us to improve, but I believe that we are much better served if we strive for excellence and not perfection! Perfection is rarely attained, and almost always is a fleeting thing. Excellence is something that is much more sustainable than perfection!
So, don’t worry, be happy and don’t sweat the small stuff!