Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Posted on November 12, 2010


Taken from Richard Carlson’s fabulous book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.  I try to pick one every day and practice it wherever possible.  Chicken soup for the soul.

Make peace with imperfection

Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be superachievers

Be aware of the snowball effect of your thinking

Develop your compassion

Remind yourself that when you die, your “in basket” won’t be empty

Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences

Do something nice for someone else—and don’t tell anyone about it

Let others have the glory

Learn to live in the present moment

Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you

Let others be “right” most of the time

Become more patient

Create “patience practice periods”

Be the first one to act loving or reach out

Ask yourself the question, “will this matter a year from now?”

Surrender to the fact that life isn’t fair

Allow yourself to be bored

Lower your tolerance to stress

Once a week, write a heartfelt letter

Imagine yourself at your own funeral

Repeat to yourself, “life isn’t an emergency”

Experiment with your back burner

Spend a moment every day thinking of someone to thank

Smile at strangers, look into their eyes, and say hello

Set aside quiet time, every day

Imagine the people in your life as tiny infants and as one-hundred-year-old adults

Seek first to understand

Become a better listener

Choose your battles wisely

Become aware of your moods and don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the low ones

Life is a test it is only a test

Praise and blame are all the same

Practice random acts of kindness

Look beyond behavior

See the innocence

Choose being kind over being right

Tell three people (today) how much you love them

Practice humility

When in doubt about whose turn it is to take out the trash go ahead and take it out

Avoid weatherproofing

Spend a moment, every day, thinking of someone to love

Become an anthropologist

Understand separate realities

Develop your own helping rituals

Every day, tell at least one person something you like, admire, or appreciate about them

Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours

Remember that everything has god’s fingerprints on it

Resist the urge to criticize

Write down your five most stubborn positions and see if you can soften them

Just for fun, agree with criticism directed toward you

(then watch it go away)

Search for the grain of truth in other opinions

See the glass as already broken (and everything else too)

Understand the statement, “wherever you go, there you are”

Breathe before you speak

Be grateful when you’re feeling good and graceful when you’re feeling bad

Become a less aggressive driver


Adopt a child through the mail

Turn your melodrama into a mellow-drama

Read articles and books with entirely different points of view from your own and try to learn something

Do one thing at a time

Count to ten

Practice being in the “eye of the storm”

Be flexible with changes in your plans

Think of what you have instead of what you want

Practice ignoring your negative thoughts

Be willing to learn from friends and family

Be happy where you are

Remember that you become what you practice most

Quiet the mind

Take up yoga

Make service an integral part of your life

Do a favour and don’t ask for, or expect, one in return

Think of your problems as potential teachers

Get comfortable not knowing

Acknowledge the totality of your being

Cut yourself some slack

Stop blaming others

Become an early riser

When trying to be helpful, focus on little things

Remember, one hundred years from now, all new people

Lighten up

Nurture a plant

Transform your relationship to your problems

The next time you find yourself in an argument, rather than defend your position, see if you can see the other point of view first

Redefine a “meaningful accomplishment”

Listen to your feelings (they are trying to tell you something)

If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it

Fill your life with love

Realize the power of your own thoughts

Give up on the idea that “more is better”

Keep asking yourself, “what’s really important

Trust your intuitive heart

Be open to “what is”

Mind your own business

Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary

Schedule time for your inner work

Live this day as if it were your last – it might be!

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