We’ve got bugs in our house. They’re these little flying gnats that are impossible to catch and buzz around your face constantly. I see them in the kitchen, the living room, the dining room…They are everywhere. I’m really annoyed by them, quite frankly. Whenever I see one near me, I start trying to catch them in my hand, or by clapping my hands together. I almost always miss however, because they seem to posses some kind of teleportation technology that moves them to another part of the house instantly when threatened.
As I sat in the dining room watching one crawl across my cutting board this morning, two thoughts crossed my mind. First, where did I pack the white vinegar; we need to disinfect the cutting board again. Second, and more relevant, it occurred to me how often I focus on the bugs in my life.
One of the character traits—or flaws, depending on how far we take it—of us technical types, is that we are problem solvers. To be effective problem solvers, we get pretty good at spotting problems. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you are a problem solver, everything can start to look like a problem.
And when everything is a problem, more specifically, our problem, we tend to get frustrated.
We miss all the good things that are going on around us because all we see is problems. We miss out on developing deeper relationships with our team and families because we’re too busy solving problems. Eventually, we can get aggravated and frustrated because all we do is solve everyone else’s problems.
This morning, as I watched that stupid little gnat, it occurred to me how small it was. Really small, in fact. Microdot connector small. Then I looked around at the rest of the house (which is a mess because we’re packing and getting ready to move Tuesday), and I realized that in proportion to everything else in my life, that little bug, which so…bugs me, is really a small deal. In the grand scheme of things, so much more is going right than wrong, and maybe I should be focusing on the right stuff instead of the problems. Maybe I should be spending more time talking with my wife and daughters than trying to kill those gnats. Metaphorically speaking.
What bugs you? What are you letting bug you that you shouldn’t?