When I first started my job in clinical research 18 years ago, I worked for a doctor who gave me the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and it is all small stuff) for Christmas within the first three months of working for him.
“Really?!” I thought. “Why on earth would he give me something like that?” After many years of working with him, as much as I hate to admit it, I realized he was right on two accounts:
#1 – He recognized in me the propensity to ruminate and worry about every little thing. In the research environment this can actually be viewed as a positive trait, but in me it was out of control and was making me miserable. I could not continue to function like that.
#2 – He was someone who lived by this philosophy up until the day he died. He made it a point to live in the moment and get to know each and every person he encountered on a personal level. He treated everyone with respect and maintained a sense of humor when things didn’t go as planned. He had high expectations for the quality of work, but chose to see the best in everyone who worked for him. In this nurturing environment I thrived and my level of commitment and expertise about the job grew.
I just came across that book while cleaning out my attic and have been reading it with a fresh perspective. So much of it is based on the principles of mindfulness, and I am able to once again benefit from these gentle reminders of what is truly important in life.