I owe this story to a guy named Sedley Berger. He used to run a progamme called Advanced Self Management back in the mid-seventies and he started me out on a path that I have followed ever since. I have never stopped working on self improvement and I’m delighted to see that his son Mark is carrying on the good work.
He told the story of a guy who wanted to borrow his neighbour’s wheelbarrow.
He figured it was not the sort of thing that gets used every day so there shouldn’t be a problem. Then he remembered the last time he borrowed a hedge clipper. He’d blunted them and the neighbour complained when he returned them, so as he was walking next door he was saying to himself “Ok, so I messed up your hedge clippers, but I only want to borrow your wheelbarrow this time and I can’t damage that. Oh, come on, don’t be unreasonable, surely you can let me use your flipping wheelbarrow for a couple of hours. I didn’t mean to blunt the darned things for goodness sake! Damn it, I hardly ever ask you for anything and I lent you my spade the other day, you miserable old goat. Heck isn’t that what neighbours are for? Why do you get so shirty when I ask you for anything, you don’t have to help your neighbours. You can go through life hating us all.” He knocked on the door and when it opened, he was so worked up he shouted “And you can shove your B**!@# wheelbarrow right where it belongs” And stomped away.
The lesson? Don’t fight with people in your head. In fact, don’t even hold conversations with them in your head. I know it sounds simple, but just try switching the internal fight off next time you and your spouse have a little upset and you will realise just how tempting it is. You see when it’s in your head, you always win the argument! But it doesn’t do the slightest bit of good and it can do an awful lot of harm. Learn to let go rather. Rise above the upset and see it for what it really is.
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