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One of the funniest phrases I have heard in the past few months is “Pigeons of Discontent.” This was meant as the opposite of “Bluebirds of Happiness”, and I find that it is very apt.
Essentially it is the category of items that are predictable annoyances. And like pigeons, these are the common, garden-variety, everyday annoyances that can peck away at our happiness and contentment.
Little Annoyances Can Add Up
The thing is, little annoyances can add up. Much like a flowing river carved the Grand Canyon over time, daily, low-level annoyances can chip away at our sense of well-being and contentment.
We may not be aware of the damage they do, either. The Grand Canyon was not caused by a single drop of rain. It was only when all the water added up that it had the power to carve the land.
So it goes with small annoyances. They can add up to the point where it overwhelms our day.
The solution? As much as possible, eliminate the predictable annoyances so they do not overwhelm us.
Eliminate Predictable Annoyances
It’s not as difficult as it sounds. All you have to do is pay attention to the things that irk you regularly and take steps to counter them.
Identify The Irritant
The first step is to be aware of what is irritating you…and why. Let’s take a look at a common sore spot: commutes.
Does your commute annoy you because of the heaviness of traffic? Or is it because of the way people drive? Or is it too long? Or do you not have a good form of transportation that allows you to relax? Or is it the radio program you listen to? (No kidding, this was a big stressor for a co-worker of mine).
Identify what the major annoyance is, and figure out what aspects of the issue are the true causes.
Find A Reasonable Solution
We don’t have the option, most times, of making the annoyance disappear. We cannot make traffic go away. We cannot stop other drivers from being inattentive, texting, talking on their phones, eating breakfast, reading the paper or putting on makeup. We cannot make the traffic go faster, the train be on time, or prevent accidents that cause delays. We have to find a solution that fixes the annoyance, and have it be something that is within our power.
If traffic is too heavy, take an alternate route. Even if it takes longer, starting the day with less stress is worth it. If your commute is too long, look at ways to shorten it. Perhaps carpooling, or a shorter route would be appropriate. If your commute is extreme, would it be better to find work near your home or move near your work? If other drivers bother you, have someone else drive or take another route. If it is the program you listen to, find something that relaxes you and listen to it.
Implement The Solution For A Trial
I’m guessing you probably thought you were done at this point. But the thing is, to fix an annoyance, you need to implement the solution for a trial period and then see if the solution did, in fact, fix the annoyance.
This is a crucial step that I see people skip all the time. You have to evaluate the solution, or your fix to the original problem could turn into another annoyance.
Give yourself a couple of weeks to put your chosen solution in place, and make a note to evaluate it at the end of that time. Decide if it did fix the problem. Or if it needs to be tweaked some more. Or if you need to try something else.
You may think this is a lot of work to fix minor annoyances. Remember, though, that annoyances pile up, and the less minor annoyances you have, the less pigeons of discontent can drop their loads on you.
What are your pigeons of discontent? How have you gotten around them? Share below.
Photo by Ian Sane