As I look back over my life, one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned was to not “catastrophize.” The president of our company, L. B. McKelvey, one day told me that I “catastrophize.” I asked him if that was a word. OOPS! He said: “It doesn’t matter! What matters is that you begin to recognize when you make mountains out of mole hills.”
After that talk, I began spending time in an “out of body experience.” I tried to watch my own reactions from an outside perspective. Well, it didn’t take more than a day to recognize that he was absolutely right! I did make a bigger deal out of things than was necessary. It’s almost as if I liked sharing “drama” with others.
So, I began to calm down and take things for what they were, and no more.
Then I heard someone, somewhere say: “Whenever something happens to you that you didn’t want, didn’t expect or don’t appreciate, stop and ask yourself this question: Is this an inconvenience or a tragedy? And then, respond (not react) appropriately.”
In the big scheme of things, 9/11 was a tragedy, a terminally ill child is a tragedy, but a driveway easement that was signed incorrectly and will hold up closing for 3 days is an inconvenience.
That, my friends, has changed my life and the lives of many around me as I share that message in my teaching.
We should stop reacting and begin responding appropriately to the situation. And, I would suggest, we need to STOP THE DRAMA. We can actually destroy our own deals and relationships by reacting emotionally and creating drama.
I wish I could give credit to the giver of “Is this an inconvenience or a tragedy?” because it has changed my life. I don’t know whether it was a CD, a tape, a book or a speaker. But whatever it was, it was profound.