Minutia ” the small, precise, or trivial details of something”
We all get bogged down with the little things in life, sometimes to the distraction of the things that really matter. The minutiae can be destructive, and can give us an excuse for not taking action on the more important aspects of our goals, dreams, and life plans.
Sometimes we don’t recognise the minutiae, and often we’re swimming in a sea of minutiae that it’s hard to see anything else. However, when we do deal with it, our lives become so much more lighter, happier and powerful.
Hopefully these 5 suggestions will help to cut down on the minutia in your life, and get you back on track with the important things.
One : Choose your battles
This is a phrase my wife and I constantly say to our two sons, and I think it’s the best advice to give to anyone. Choosing your battles simply means fight for what’s really important and stop fighting for the things that don’t really matter. This way you gain back your energy.
Sometimes we can become ‘the fighter’, the person who stands up to everything, and in the process drain ourselves of mental and emotional energy, causing a whole load of other problems.
Example: My current broadband providers service usually goes really slow from around 7.30pm to around 10 pm (peak times), so much so that I cannot get a lot of my work done online.
The other week I got so fed up that I decided to call them, and get it sorted once and for all. Remember that I am using home broadband service for my business, which I shouldn’t be doing.
I spent over 3 hours, trying to get it sorted out, speaking to managers, complaining and doing a whole batch of tests to try and fix it. 3 hours of mental anguish and anxiety wasted, when what I should have done was get a dedicated business line installed – which is what I have now done.
That was a battle I didn’t have to fight, I could have decided immediately to get a business line and forget about my home broadband at peak times, choosing to do some writing without the distractions of the net.
We have to choose our battles wisely and ask the question: Will this really matter 1 year from today?
Two: Letting go of road rage
Road rage seems to affect a large number of drivers, and we hear stories all the time about incidents of road rage and how far people go when this red mist of anger comes over them.
I have to admit to being a road rager in the past. I hate it when other drivers are ignorant e.g if I stop to let them out of a junction and they don’t acknowledge me, if someone cuts me up, or my biggest pet hate; going 40 miles per hour on a motorway when the speed limit is 70 miles per hour and you’re stuck in their lane as the next junction is only 1/2 a mile away —aaaarrrrgghhh! 🙂
However, some time back I decided to drop the road rage for a 30 day trial, not say anything, not feel anything, just let it go.
If someone cut me up, I didn’t acknowledge it, if someone didn’t put their hand up when I stopped to let them out of a junction I ignored it, and if someone was going 40 miles per hour on the motorway, I just went with the flow.
The difference it made whilst driving was amazing and I have never felt the urge to shout expletives at other drivers since, I totally go with the flow and all is well with the world. No more wasting mental energy.
There are other types of rage that can affect us: Queue rage, calling customer service rage, bill rage, computer rage, I’m sure you can think of a few more 🙂
These types of rage is minutiae you can do without in your life. You choose whether or not to get angry at something, choose not to get angry and see the difference it makes.
Three: Do one thing right instead of 10 things wrong
We live in a world of jugglers, people who are trying to do 10 things at once, or multitaskers. You need to know one thing, multi tasking is a myth, it is not possible, and I mean that literally.
If you agree that we can only have 100% concentration at any one time, and it takes a certain amount of time to reach 100% concentration e.g. When you sit down to read a book it takes a bit of time to get comfortable, to stop the distractions in your mind, and only after a few minutes can we give 100% focus on the book we are reading, then we realize that it’s not possible to do 10 things at once.
If we are trying to do 10 things at once we cannot possibly give 100% focus on each of these 10 tasks. Whereas if we focus on one task at a time until completion, it means we will get more done and reduce the anxiety and stress in our lives.
Of course if you’re a born struggler you will like the fact that you struggle to keep up with your busy life, and others can see how hard a worker you are. Life is not meant to be a struggle.
Four: Take responsibility
I always get a little flak when I tell clients this. If you don’t take responsibility for your life then you are giving away your power to other people and telling yourself that you can’t control your life. Have the courage to take responsibility.
When I was an addiction counsellor and clients told me they had an alcohol addiction. The inevitable question would come up: Why do you drink? A lot of clients would say they drink because they are addicted to alcohol and don’t know how to stop, but a large proportion of clients would say they drink because of something that happened in their past, or they drink because they don’t have much in life, or because their wife left them, or because they are bankrupt.
Drinkers drink because they choose to drink
In the sessions, if we could get to the stage when the client would take responsibility for their drinking, their chances of giving up increased 10 fold.
Similarly we have to take responsibility for every aspect of our life, only then we can take actions to change it.
If we are in a shitty job, we should take responsibility and tell ourselves we are choosing to be in this shitty job and then find a less shitty job and leave the other one.
If we are in a shitty relationship, take responsibility and say I am choosing to be in this shitty relationship, when we do that we are a little more enlightened and choose to no longer stay in the shitty relationship.
We need to get off the ‘poor me’ train, take responsibility, and give ourselves a good kick up the arse.
I know I sound really arrogant saying this. Taking responsibility is the single biggest thing we can do in our lives to drop the minutiae and finally live life on our own terms.
Five: Stop catching other peoples paperclips
I’ve told this story before in Stop Catching Other Peoples Paperclips but I think it’s worth repeating:
I was speaking with a client today. He was telling me about how much other people affected him in his life. He didn’t much care for these people but he was still “˜too nice’ to say no or to stand up to them. When I spoke about the concept of giving your power away to other people, he didn’t quite get it.
I picked up a paperclip and threw it to him asking him to catch it. He duly caught it.
When I asked why he caught it, he advised it was because I asked him to. I looked at him and didn’t say a word, then about 20 seconds into the silence he suddenly got it. With a big smile on his face he said “˜Ah! So I’m doing things other people want me to do, but not what I want to do?”, he got, in one action, what I had been trying to explain for 15 minutes.
We give our power away a lot in life, to the detriment of our own happiness. When we take back control, we take back our power and can finally begin to be happy within ourselves.
It can be tough standing up for ourselves, but when we do it we realize how empowering it can be, and how much control we really do have in our own lives.
Start small to give you confidence, your reclamation of your own power will grow, and you will grow as a person.
As ever, leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.