A Measured Response

Stupid CD player!  I couldn’t believe it – my truck’s CD player wouldn’t play the CD and it wouldn’t eject the CD either; stupid CD player.  I was just trying to enjoy my quiet early morning commute with some nice serene music that I specially picked out before walking out of my home at 5:50 a.m. …and then this!

I was determined to get the CD out of the player so every traffic light I came to, I hit the dome light, thumbed through the owner’s manual, hit the eject button a few more times, only to be left, saying the same thing, “stupid CD player.”

Anger began to take hold about 15 minutes into this ordeal and I hit multiple buttons, tried to peer inside the player and yelled a little louder, “stupid CD player!”

When I got to work I had already worked myself into a tizzy and had determined this was going to be “one of those days.”   It was after I had parked my vehicle, turned off the ignition that I looked down and opened my CD case that I realized I never put the CD into the player…stupid CD player indeed!  The placement of the noun, “player,” had to be modified, but I did have it right.

Getting worked up over ridiculous things like this is one of my special gifts.  I can contort issues and make them much larger than they could ever hope to be on their own.  Fortunately, I have been spending a bit more time in prayer to avoid irrational episodes.

Slowing down and not allowing the normal events of life to control us are something we all must learn.  If we don’t learn to control them, then the events control us.  It’s not so much the events themselves; it’s how we handle them.  We can all face the exact same problems and all react differently.  Here are two basic questions that I have found to help me when I am faced with an “issue.” 

Is this something out of your control?  Getting a flat tire on your way to appointment is frustrating, but getting upset will not do anything to solve the issue at hand.  Deal with it.  Call your client, let them know you will be late, take care of the situation and then move on.  Kicking the car, moaning about “this always happens to me,” or out-and-out panic will not do a darn bit of good.  Accept the situation as it is because, quite frankly, you really don’t have any other choice.   The only thing now in your control is your response or attitude about the problem.

Is this something within your control?  There are things that happen due to your action or inaction.  For example, if you find that your lack of organization is causing you to be inefficient, which causes delays in your work product, which causes your boss to give you “the look,” then you better do something about it.  You can choose to make the commitment to get organized – buy a planner or do whatever is necessary to put some structure to your day.   But if you do not choose to accept the responsibility for the events in your control (e.g., “it’s not my fault, it’s his or her fault”) then you are doomed to continue to have problems. 

If we just slow down, think about the situation, and then act, we will have a much more rational response then simply reacting.  Count to 10 before you act, if necessary, count to 100. 

Is it out of your control?  Don’t sweat it, do what you need to do in a rational manner.  Is it your fault or responsibility?  Accept your responsibility and make the necessary changes.



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