Sometimes, you have to just look around. Sometimes, you have to see the world is not such a bad place. There are beautiful things everywhere you look. Sometimes, it just takes a moment to notice.
Mom used to tell me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Another friend of mine used to go shooting with me. He used to tell me, “Aim small, miss small.”
We give in to too much distraction, you and me. We lose sight of much bigger goals.
Back when I was an engineer at a building on Park and 34th Street, I remember a hard day. The weather started to get cold and the heating season was just underway. My boss was not a good person. He was dirty and underhanded. He was conniving at best. He was a crook, a criminal, racist and those were his good qualities. He was trying to have me fired and trying to push me out the door, which he failed at, and I had the upper hand, but still, I was worried.
I retreated to one of the vacant offices to sit for a while. My frustration was through the roof. I was angry and concerned for my financial future. I wanted to take action but to what avail? What would any of this do?
Frustrated and anxious, I sat down in a chair and faced towards the window to view the city’s skyline. I saw something I had never seen before.
There were swarms of butterflies, literally hundreds of them, flying high across the sky in New York City. The sky was cloudy and the air was cold. I never saw a butterfly in New York City before—let alone hundreds of them, this high up, which was somewhere around 38 stories high.
I watched them fly past. More importantly, I allowed the distraction to calm me down. This gave me a minute to redirect my thinking and realize the difference between distraction and importance.
The only other time I ever saw a butterfly in New York City was the first Monday I returned to work after my Mother passed away. The butterfly literally flew up and landed on my shoulder. Call this whatever you will. Call this a sign. Call this a symbol. But me, I call this something beautiful to remind me the difference between distraction and importance.
I have watched my city change over the years. I have seen the differences in generations. Fashions changed. Music changed. Life changed too but one thing remains, and I swear this is true; even in the ugliest times of my life, there has always been something beautiful around to show me the way—I just needed to notice it.
I am wondering why we invest so much in insignificant things. I remember hearing a lecture from an angry girl about the right and wrong way to place toilet paper on the toilet paper roll. I honestly never knew there was a difference.
“Well. There is,” complained the girl I lived with. She was frustrated with me and asked, “You really never knew that?”
I answered, “No. I was always just happy to know there was toilet paper in the room.”
We invest in the wrong things. I do too. I sometimes have to ask myself, “Why am I angry?” What does this have to do with me?
Chances are, if I am angry about small, insignificant things it is because of a separate issue. This is where my inventory comes into play. I grow angry over simple things when I find myself uncomfortable about other things, which I cannot control. Most arguments happen in our life because we are usually angry about something else—the argument just so happens to come along at the right time and gives a perfect outlet to yell.
For example, there is a man on the 8th floor of a commercial office building. He was angry yesterday. He was angry about something that had nothing to do with me. But either way, I’m the one he snapped at. Rather than arm his argument, I disarmed him by listening empathetically and actively listening, to which, I could not fix his problem; however, at least he was listened to. He even smiled at me. I could have taken this with me. I could have been angry too. But why?
I spent too much time in my life, arguing over the little things, which, I grant that sometimes the littlest things can trip us up. But time is too precious. You are too precious. Life is too short and we don’t spend enough time with one another to argue or be unhappy.
Besides, there are too many beautiful things to see in this world.
We can miss out on this if we’re not careful.
And I don’t want to miss anything else.