Episode 25 | (00:00):
Hey there, friend, have you been a "cranky pants" lately? Have you just been cranky and annoyed and frustrated, and you can't really figure out what exactly is bothering you?
Then today's episode is perfect for you because in this episode, I am going to give you a little exercise to figure out what you're tolerating in midlife.
Because once you figure out what it is, then you can take some action. But until you figure out what it is, you might be spending some time going around in circles, being frustrated or annoyed or downright cranky, and who wants that, right? Let's get started. Let's dive in and let's do this, kids. Come on!
Hey there, Easy Ager, before I get started today, I just wanted to remind you if you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up right after this episode, okay?
Today, we're going to be talking about getting clarity. Now I don't know about you, but somedays I just feel cranky. I feel out of sorts. I feel like I walk around going, "Ugh." I'm frustrated. I'm annoyed. And I don't even know why. Most of the time, it's not a particular person or a particular situation. I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something.
Once I discovered this nice, quick, little exercise that I'm going to give you in a minute, things got a lot easier. I wasn't sitting there just wringing my hands, getting annoyed for hours or days or even weeks, and maybe even months, about something I couldn't figure out.
So this little exercise is going to help you figure out what you are tolerating. Because strange as it sounds, sometimes figuring out what you're tolerating and what you don't want in your life can help you figure out what you do want.
Because knowing what you don't want can play a huge role in helping you get clarity on your true goals. The reason you want this clarity before you get started is because you don't wanna be working hard and wasting time going after a goal if it's not going to make you truly happy.
I mean, that would be incredibly unfulfilling, wouldn't it? And well, kind of sad too because you just wasted a lot of time and energy towards something that, at the end of it you're going, "Eh, whatever." I mean, not that we haven't done that. I know I have done this more than a few times in my life.
You know, I thought I wanted something shiny and new, and I went after it and I was so excited. Then I got it, and at the end of it I kind of went, "Eh, you know, this is kind of unfulfilling."
But in reality, sometimes all we need to do is just acknowledge what we are tolerating, acknowledge that little something that we're tolerating so we can make a change to it and be done with it. Problem solved. We're done. We can keep moving forward.
Toleration is a really normal part of our lives. I mean, we all experience it either in an ongoing basis or from time to time. However, if you let it go on for too long, it can gnaw at you and annoy you and just grate on you and start affecting you on a daily basis.
When it starts affecting your attitude and your moods and the way you interact with others, then you really need to get down to the basics of this particular toleration, okay?
I'm gonna give you an exercise in a second. Let me tell you a quick story, one of my favorite stories ever. One day I asked my father, How did you decide you wanted to be a civil engineer? And his answer was kind of straightforward. He said, "You know, I was digging ditches to create the new roadway in Fort Worth."
(That's in Texas, here in north Texas.) "I was working in the middle of the summer. I was hot. I was thirsty and I was covered in dirt because the dirt was sticking to my sweat." And he said, "It was so dusty, I was tasting dirt in between my teeth. I really didn't like this job, but I needed it at the time."
Then he said he saw a pickup stop and a man in a pressed, short-sleeved shirt got out. He was wearing a hard hat and he had a clipboard. It looked like he got out and talked to the foreman and then he began giving instructions on what to do next. When he was done, he got back into his air-conditioned truck and drove off.
So my dad asked the guy who was standing in the ditch with him as they were digging the hole, he said, "Hey, who was that guy?" And the other guy said, "Oh, he's the civil engineer for the project."
Then my dad started laughing and he said, "I immediately thought, 'I don't know exactly what he does, but I want that job.'" So a few years later, when he returned from serving his country, my father got his degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and had a very successful career as a civil engineer.
Now, granted, that's the short version of the story. There was more involved than this one event, but here are a few observations I made about that whole story.
First of all, he got clarity. He had a huge moment of clarity because after digging the ditches in the sun, my father knew what he didn't want to spend his life doing. This helped him clarify in his mind so he could start envisioning what he actually did wanna do with his life.
So this moment of clarity helped him drop all the assumptions he may have had because at that point he was, I don't know, 17 or 18 years old, he needed the job just so he could make money to eat and have a roof over his head and contribute to the family budget. And he had come from a low-income neighborhood.
From the outside, it looked like he didn't have any options. But when he had this moment of clarity of this gentleman getting back into his air-conditioned truck, that certainly gave him more of a vision and gave him a lot more options than he originally thought he had.
So in addition to the clarity, he took action. Seeing this man intrigued him enough to research the responsibilities of a civil engineer and figure out, "Is this something I'm interested in or not?" And this information opened his mind up even more. By taking this action, it helped him get his mind even clearer than he was before.
Then he made a decision because once he discovered, "Hey, you know what? This civil engineering sounds pretty good. I could do that. That sounds really interesting to me." Then he said, "Okay, great. What do I need to do?" That was when he decided what he wanted to do for a living.
The fourth thing he did was, he followed through. He didn't just say, "Oh, that would be really nice to be a civil engineer" and then sit on his hands. No, he followed through. And despite some hardships, I mean very significant hardships, he became a college graduate with a civil engineering degree.
All this to say that, even though from the outside looking in, it looked like this was just a young teenager who didn't really have a lot of options because he grew up in a low-income neighborhood. But I think my father knew, I think all of us know, deep down inside, that we were all meant for something different. Having that little feeling, that little intuition, knowing that helped him stay open and receptive to new ideas and new experiences.
So now my question for you is, what are you tolerating? I mean, like my father, we all go through periods of tolerating things for a variety of reasons. If you've felt a little "off" lately — well, some of it may be, you know, coming out of the pandemic, that's part of it. But if you're feeling a little off and you don't know where to turn, maybe it's time for you to sit down and see if something is bugging you because your toleration tank is full.
So here's a quick exercise. When I do this exercise, my list runs the gamut. It goes from home projects to my business, to people who are annoying me to frustration. So don't limit yourself, you're just gonna go with what comes up next, okay?
Grab a sheet of paper and a pen, along with a timer. All you're going to do is at the top of the page write, What am I tolerating? and set your timer for two minutes. Then, just begin answering the question. If you get stuck, ask yourself the question again and keep writing. The goal here is to keep writing.
Don't be sitting there trying to think and figure things out. Just keep writing the entire time. If you start repeating yourself, that's okay too. Just keep repeating the items and keep writing for two minutes straight. That's your goal, okay?
When the timer goes off, look at your list and start circling the items that are repeated the most. Then from those items, narrow your items down to the top three. These are more than likely the top projects you need to address first, or the top issues that you need to be looking at initially.
Now, you can dive deeper into them if there's really not an obvious reason they're bothering you. But let me tell you, when I sit there and go "cleaning my car, cleaning my car, cleaning my car." When that comes up a few times, oh gosh, maybe it's time to clean my car. What do you think?
There are going to be a lot of surprises, and there are also going to be things that you consciously know about. You just keep ignoring them, like for me, it's cleaning my car, right?
So that's pretty much it. Sit down, ask yourself, "What am I tolerating?" and start writing for two minutes. The main thing is to keep your hand going for the entire two minutes. Don't be thinking too hard about fixing the problem. Just keep writing it down. First thoughts, best thoughts, okay?
So to recap, tolerating situations is a very normal part of life, but you can't let your tolerations affect your daily mood or your attitude. So you can pop in, use this exercise whenever you want to get clear on what is bugging you. Then you can take some action to relieve the pain. You are going to be very glad you did.
Sit down with this exercise as often as you can when you're feeling a little out of sorts or a little cranky, okay? Once again, if you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up right now. And until next time, peace, love and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye.