"If you would cure anger, do not feed it. Say to yourself:
'I used to be angry every day; then every other day;
now only every third or fourth day.'
When you reach thirty days
offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the gods."
Rob Chiller has rediscovered the joys of speaking his mind after a decade-long stint
in Corporate America. When not behind a keyboard, Rob can be found offering his
unsolicited opinions on life to anyone who happens to be passing by his house.
Every year at about this time, you are reminded of the virtue of gratitude. Heck, in this
very issue, you'll find an article dealing with the subject. The Thanksgiving holiday prompts us to
count our blessings, and to show extra appreciation for the people that bring us joy.
And by all means — you should do this.
But this year, I thought you could use a challenge.
This Thanksgiving, you should try to give thanks for the people that annoy the ketones
out of you.
It's an awesome undertaking, I know. Whole journalistic careers have been born and
sustained complaining about these societal irritants. How can you be grateful for
the people you label "idiots?" During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season,
why give thanks for the person in the Express Lane at the grocery store with 137 items
in their cart? Why sing the praises of the accountant who insists on balancing his
checkbook while standing at the ATM? These people are in your way. Do they really deserve
Of course not. But if you give it to them anyway, a world of personal peace and
tranquility awaits you.
It's a matter of perspective. I've found that if you take whatever behavior is
currently bugging you, and then determine how much worse it could possibly be, you'll
feel better almost immediately. For instance, take the guy in your office who bellows
into the overhead pager on a daily basis. It doesn't matter how many times you tell him, "Jim,
take the phone out of your mouth when you do that!" Regardless of how often you remind
him his voice makes you envy the deaf, he continues to broadcast his message like an
omnipresent Gilbert Godfried.
Ok, Jim works in my office, not yours.
But this gives me a perfect illustration of how I myself have tried to find charity
in the "charity cases."
Normally, I have to fight the urge to apply the phone directly to Jim's vocal chords,
via his throat. But on this holiday of thanks, I took a mental step back, and
considered what Jim makes me thankful for...
For instance — it is a blessing I only have to hear him for 8 hours. That's only a third
of a day! That means for two-thirds
of any given day, I don't have to hear to him screech into the microphone. I am
intensely grateful for this.
Jim also takes much of the social pressure off of me. For there can only be one office
pariah — and as long as it's him, it's not yours truly. I should be thankful that his
deficiencies seem to be so much greater than my own.
Looking at it from this perspective, the world is chock-full of reasons for you to be
Take your neighbors, for instance. Day after day, they encourage their
dog to turn your lawn into their personal Porta-Potty. Irritating? Sure... I'm sure you've
found yourself pricing landmines in a Soldier of Fortune magazine on more than one occasion.
But with your new outlook, you can see the silver lining to that stinky cloud; Gee, that one
spot on the lawn does seem greener than the rest. So, instead of attempting to blow your
neighbors to smithereens, you graciously thank them for the free fertilizer.
Now remember, you're doing this for your benefit, not theirs. This exercise shows that
people have the power to annoy you only as much as you let them. By "looking on the bright
side," you take this power from the hands of the undeserving, and take control of it
yourselves. Once you accomplish this, your soul will be as free as an AOL starter disk.
So, from the Chatty Cathy sitting in front of us at the movie theater, to the illiterate
at the toll booth who fails to understand what "EXACT CHANGE ONLY" means, it's our goal
this year to find the good in them. This shouldn't be too difficult. After all, these
people provide us with enormous confidence in ourselves. If not for them, who would we
have to feel superior to?
And who would we complain about? Let's face it — complaining is fun! If it weren't for
these people and their "eccentricities," we'd be wandering around bewailing the trivial,
like why we only get two packets of mustard with our chicken nuggets. The "idiots" in
our lives lend credibility to our gripes.
So, as we count our blessings around the turkey this year, save some grace for those who
seem graceless. Be thankful they're not worse than they are. Be thankful that they
make us look good. Be thankful that no one finds us that annoying.
Copyright © November 2003 Rob Chiller and Low Carb Luxury