Awhile back, Harvey McKay told us about the fulfillment gained by helping others. He also reminded us about a series of steps that would make life easier and more satisfying.

One of the steps he called attention to was “don’t let the little things bother you.”

This is a theme that was started about 1975 or so, when Richard Carlson wrote “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…a=And It’s All About Small Stuff.” Over 25 million people bought that book and obviously are trying to subscribe to that suggestion.

I certainly can’t argue with that advice, particularly in light of all the people who tend to worry or react emotionally to the things they can’t control.

On the other hand, people who learn and grow in their career and/or life stream should pay attention to observe the small stuff and learn how you might do it differently.

Here are a few examples of small stuff you can learn from:

1. The constant need to change passwords.
2. Ads that don’t clearly indicate the location of the advertiser or how to contact them.
3. Salad bars that don’t allow participants to take from either side—or put the plates or silverware on the wrong end.
4. TV shows that have unrealistic plot circumstances; i.e., the wife of a governor running for attorney general or the father and son both becoming police commissioner in a big city.
5. Travel operators who put the highlight destination at the start of a tour.
6. Movie theaters that don’t provide enough light to see the seat numbers.

I’m sure you can add a dozen more.

Here are 16 top quotes from Richard Carlson and his pioneering book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”:

“Being listened to and heard is one of the greatest desires of the human heart. And those who learn to listen are the most loved and respected.”

“Effective listening is more than simply avoiding the bad habit of interrupting others while they are speaking or finishing their sentences. It’s being content to listen to the entire thought of someone rather than waiting impatiently for your chance to respond.”

“When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.”

“Your heart, the compassionate part of you, knows that it’s impossible to feel better at the expense of someone else.”

“It’s the recognition that other people’s problems, their pain and frustration, are every bit as real as our own—often far worse. In recognizing this fact and trying to offer some assistance, we open our hearts and greatly enhance our sense of gratitude.”

“Thinking of someone to love each day keeps your resentment away!”

“As you put more emphasis on being a loving person, which is something you can control—and less emphasis on receiving love, which is something you can’t control—you’ll find that you have plenty of love in your life.”

“So often, either consciously or unconsciously, we want something from others, especially when we have done something for them—it’s almost as though we keep score of our own good deeds rather than remembering that giving is its own reward.”

“Something wonderful begins to happen with the simple realization that life, like an automobile, is driven from the inside out, not the other way around. As you focus more on becoming more peaceful with where you are, rather than focusing on where you would rather be, you begin to find peace right now, in the present. Then, as you move around, try new things, and meet new people, you carry that sense of inner peace with you. It’s absolutely true that, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

“We tend to believe that if we were somewhere else—on vacation, with another partner, in a different career, a different home, a different circumstance—somehow we would be happier and more content.” Probably not!

“One of the mistakes many of us make is that we feel sorry for ourselves, or for others, thinking that life should be fair, or that someday it will be. It’s not and it won’t. When we make this mistake we tend to spend a lot of time wallowing and/or complaining about what’s wrong with life. ‘If’s not fair,’ we complain, not realizing that, perhaps, it was never intended to be.”

“Indeed the important question in terms of becoming more peaceful isn’t whether or not you’re going to have negative thoughts—you are—it’s what you choose to do with the ones that you have.”

“Ask yourself the question, ‘Will this matter a year from now?’”

“If we would just slow down, happiness would catch up to us.”

“We live our lives as if they were one big emergency! We often rush around looking busy, trying to solve problems, but in reality, we are often compounding them.”

“The first step in becoming a more peaceful person is to have the humility to admit that, in most cases, you’re creating your own emergencies. Life will usually go on if things don’t go according to plan.”

“We forget that life isn’t as bad as we’re making it out to be. We also forget that when we’re blowing things out of proportion, we are the ones doing the blowing.”

It was all good advice then and still good today.

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