Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff (… And It’s All Small Stuff) will keep you from letting the little, stressful things in life, like your email inbox, rushing to trains, and annoying co-workers drive you insane and help you find peace and calm in a stressful world.
This book by Richard Carlson was so successful, that it spawned a whole series of “Don’t Sweat…” books, which have sold over 25 million copies, since the original was published in 1997.
Sadly, Richard passed away at age 45, from a pulmonary embolism, in 2006. His wife Kristine keeps carrying on the message.
I’m grateful for this man, since he gave us a great book, with tremendous advice on how to lead a happier life.
Here are 3 things that struck me:
Remember that your life isn’t an emergency.
Give others a break, especially when they don’t deserve it.
Don’t procrastinate on relaxing.
Want to calm down? Here we go.
Lesson 1: Remember that your life isn’t an emergency.
Forget relaxation and happiness, right?
That’s for rich people! But you can’t afford that right now, can you? You have to be focused, disciplined, and work hard every day so you can beat the competition.
That’s what the world wants you to believe, but it’s not one bit true!
Your life is not an emergency. It’s a wonderful experience that only you get to live – and you only get one shot at it. So stop treating every day like you’re driving an ambulance, rushing from one stop to the next, trying to please everyone all the time and cater to all needs.
You’ll only end up overworking yourself and crashing from the stress.
Instead, try to make yourself bored on purpose. Force yourself to not do anything for an hour or two. At first, you’ll be frustrated and crave your smartphone or laptop.
But after a while, you’ll see the freedom and peace it brings to be able to just do nothing for once.
Take a step back, forget about other people’s requests and just follow your own will.
Quit the people pleasing and just do what’s good for you. There is no one to save but yourself, but remember: your life is not an emergency.
Lesson 2: Give others a break, especially when they don’t deserve it.
Did you ever have one of those days where people seem to just make your life harder on purpose?
The officer writes you a parking ticket 1 minute after your parking time is up.
The person who packs your shopping bags drops a carton of milk.
And the clerk at the post office seems to move extra slow.
But just when you’re about to completely lose it, try to put yourself into other people’s shoes. Take the postal clerk’s perspective. What would life look like through his or her eyes right now?
Maybe they’ve gotten horrible news in the morning, their uncle died or maybe their partner left them that very day. How would you feel?
Would you eagerly sort letters and rush to get people’s packages? Or would you hardly be able to move, because you’re so weighed down by all those heavy thoughts?
Imagine instead of having the next angry customer yell at you, they just smile. They patiently wait as you bring them their package with the speed of a turtle.
How much happier would that make you?
Impressive, right, what a little thought experiment can do…
Give others a break when they least deserve it. That’s when they need it the most. It’ll make both of you happier. The best way to treat yourself well is to treat others well.
Lesson 3: Don’t procrastinate on relaxing.
Go see my family over the weekend? I can do that next week.
Act in a theater play? Maybe next year.
Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. Until it’s too late and you’re left with nothing but regret.
We procrastinate on so many things, but has it ever occurred to you that relaxing might be one of them?
Instead of only relaxing on weekends or holidays, take a break when you actually need to. Had an extra long day at work? Take the next morning off!
Your happiness should always take precedence over some random project at work.
So when you’re extra stressed, just stop for a second. Breathe, remember what’s truly important, or take 5 minutes to call your Mum and say hi.
Yes, you can be relaxed even when things are busy. It’s not something that has to wait until the weekend or your 5 days of Christmas vacation. You can be relaxed right now.
Get yourself some of that relaxed attitude before you crash and burn and everyone around you, most of all you, will be happier.
My personal take-aways
I feel like this is very much in line with yesterday’s book. It’s a call to action, but not a call to stress. You can dot lots of things, without going crazy or burning yourself out.
This book will help you stay calm, relaxed and don’t sweat when things don’t work out instantly.
Patience is grossly underestimated and this book and summary on Blinkist will help you get some of it back. What does it matter if everything falls into place tomorrow or 10 years from now?
There’s a lot of life to be lived right now. Be sure you don’t miss it because you’re too busy working for something that might never happen.