1 EAGLETON NOTES: Making Space



Saturday, 6 August 2011

Making Space

A few weeks ago I was trying to sort out some space on my bookshelves in the living room and the loft when I realised that I had quite a lot of self-help books.  A few I had dipped into.  Most I had been given for one reason or another but, presumably, because the giver had thought I needed help to help myself.  They were given quite a few years ago when my life was, how should I say, confused.  I ceased to be 'confused' over five years ago.  It occurred to me that I'd never be likely to open any of them again (there's confidence for you!) so I decided to get rid of them and make space on the shelves.

However I have kept one related book:  Richard Carlson's Don't Sweat The Small Stuff.  If there is a book which has given me a mantra then this is the book.  Frankly the majority of the 246 - albeit small - pages are superfluous because all that matters is that we realise that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff and that the great majority of the things that get to us on an everyday basis are small stuff.

There is a test.  If something, for example, annoys you, the first question to ask yourself is whether it will matter in a year from now.  If not, will in matter in six months?  Three months?  Three weeks?  Three days?  Tomorrow?  And if not, then why does it matter now?

Life's good.  Thanks to my friends.


  1. So true... it has taken a lot of life experience to unconfuse you.... but i do try to follow that particular philosophy when I feel anxious.

    just been dozing as I have a cold and am knackered.. had a dream of being in Scotland at an amazing beach with the most amazing tide changes... I was walking around it in the sun, crying lightly as we were leaving that day and it was so beautiful. The sun went in and the lifeboat noise went off - (whatever that noise is but we used to stay over the lifeboat ramp in Swanage and I am sure there was one) - we ran to the beach and there you were, the lifeboat flying down the slope behind you. We could see a number of boats in difficulty.
    We all had to run to avoid an incoming boat crashing through the sea wall as it surged in on a wave.
    SO vivid.. we were fine!
    Probably all incredibly symbolic...
    Funny how our minds work really.

  2. A great philosophy to live by.

    Another, for me, is trying not to
    give too much energy trying to control things that I have no control over.

    Life IS good. :)

  3. Wow Fiona. I've given up trying to analyse my dreams and nightmares. Truth is I've never really tried. I have so many I'd never be doing anything else anyway.

    We certainly have the beaches here though! And the lifeboat. Nowadays, though, the flares and bangs summoning the crew have, I believe, been replaced by personal bleepers.

    I hope that your cold clears quickly.

    Lisa, I agree with you 100%. And I've realised just how little in life I have the power to control.

  4. Very good mantra to hold.
    Where are the pictures of your bookshelves sans self-help books? And why can't I do the same in my little over-crowded library/computer station?

  5. I think I've read that - on your advice. I certainly recall there was a church in Leeds when I was twenty that had a different notice outside each week and the notices were relevant to daily life - not just the 'Jesus loves you' type. One of the best ever (and bearing in mind it's stuck with me for forty years) was exactly what you've said in your post. It read "What did you worry about this time last week, last month, last year?"

  6. I had to turn this title over in my mind a few times because it's an expression I can't recall having heard before, I mean to 'sweat' something.

    I have quite a few self help books in my shelves too and for me too that's one category where I'd probably start when I need to clear more space. Some I can hardly remember probably weren't very helpful in the first place. And some of the helpful ones I won't need to reread in their entirety exactly because they *were* helpful ;) But I guess in this category just as with other books there are a few that may be worth returning to. Thinking of Fi's comment above... (and this probably won't be a big surprise for you)... For me one of the most helpful ever was a small book whose Swedish title would translate: 'Your Dreams - Letters to Yourself'! because that book gave me the first keys how to understand my own dreams. I've read other books of similar kind since, but that first one is probably the one I'd keep if I had to reduce my library.

  7. Life is good indeed - it better had be, since it is the only one I have, and I can't send it back and ask for a different one when I've messed up this one or find it doesn't fit me :-)

    A key moment of learning I had years ago was when my then boss said to me on a day when I was not just a little stressed at work: "As yourself, 'what happens if I do NOT do it?'" So simple, and yet is has changed things big time - I have no unhealthy stress anymore.

  8. your mantra can go way back ...not worrying about the things you can't change, understanding what you can change and having the wisdom to know the difference

  9. I try very hard not to sweat the small stuff (cos it's all small stuff, right?) Sometimes, though my little mind (ego) convinces me otherwise. I am trying harder these days not to listen to it however, so I guess that is progress. Good post, GB.

  10. I think that is one of the few self help books I've read more than half of - and I read all of it. I think I'm getting better and better at it, too!