Ever get rocks in your shoes? Or even a single, tiny rock?
It happened to me this weekend as I began to mow my grass. A small rock somehow pole-vaulted over the edge of my high top work boots and quickly worked its way to an inconvenient resting spot under the bottom of my foot.
Did I stop the lawnmower, remove my boot, and shake out the tiny villain? Of course not. It was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t causing any real pain. It was just irritating — irritating enough to continually draw my attention back to it. Instead of enjoying the act of manicuring my lawn (yes, I really do), my thoughts kept returning to “Uggghhhh, that stupid little pebble is so ANNOYING.”
I mowed at least half my lawn this way until I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I halted the job long enough to deboot my foot and empty the contents. I was shocked by the size of the culprit. It wasn’t even a small rock, it was smaller than that. It was basically a grain of sand on steroids.
It’s funny how such a little thing could derail my productivity, effectiveness, and enjoyment. I always think it’s the giant boulders in my path that slow me down, when in reality those little obstacles — the little rocks in your shoes — are just as debilitating to the pursuit of a superpowered life as the big ones are.
I’ll tough out a headache instead of taking some Tylenol.
I’ll cook around a pile of dirty dishes instead of taking three minutes to clean them up first.
I’ll overlook a small lack of accountability in another person because it’s “not a big deal.”
I’ll ignore my car making a strange noise for weeks instead of driving straight to the garage to get it checked out.
The problem is that I choose to live with those tiny irritations way longer than I need to, so I suffer the irritation and consequences far longer than necessary. Plus, more often than not the problems do NOT go away on their own like I hope they will. I know they’re not that hard to get rid of if I will just take a moment or two to deal with them. But I don’t. So I suffer needlessly. And left unchecked, these small irritations can lead to much greater damage if I don’t address them sooner rather than later.
Today, I’m challenging myself to address small irritations the moment they surface. I know it won’t always be easy, nor will it always be what I want to do in the moment. However, I’m willing to bet that the more I do it, the easier it will get, and the happier I will be.
How about you? Got any rocks in your shoes?