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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--And It's All Small Stuff (1997)

by Richard Carlson

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4,652562,463 (3.59)30
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff is an audiobook that tells you how to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy. In thoughtful and insightful language, author Richard Carlson reveals ways to calm down in the midst of your incredibly hurried, stress-filled life. You can learn to put things into perspective by making the small daily changes Dr. Carlson suggests, including advice such as "Choose your battles wisely"; "Remind yourself that when you die, your 'in' box won't be empty"; and "Make peace with imperfection." With Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... you'll also learn how to: - Live in the present moment - Let others have the glory at times - Lower your tolerance to stress - Trust your intuitions - Live each day as it might be your last. With gentle, supportive suggestions, Dr. Carlson reveals ways to make your actions more peaceful and caring, with the added benefit of making your life more calm and stress-free.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
I found it helpful... it reminds you to put things in perspective. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Apr 11, 2024 |
I wasn’t sure what awesome thing I was going to say about this simple book, but I guess I’ll just say that (even though I’m not as shy or hostile about money as I used to be), I was surprised how practical Richard C’s mindfulness and common sense tips are to the world of everyday life and getting on with things. The psychological community doesn’t have to be shy and hostile about money; the business community doesn’t have to be empowered-but-still-neurotic normies, you know.

People don’t believe in coming together, right now, but if we make it? We will.

…. (Habits) Public transport isn’t as usable in most areas of the United States, except for special trips maybe, and cars don’t have to be bad, but I get it. My commute or whatever is very brief, not like a suburban professional commute, but it is one of the most angst-y parts of my day: it’s one of the most unpredictable and triggers my irritable monk nerve. (Unpredictable? Bah, humbug!) I need to transcend my person history pattern.

…. I doubt that Eckhart Tolle read all the Richard Carlson books—he reads very few and kinda involved, theoretically books, and his reading is only one part of his theory/life—but it is cool that Richard C calls mindfulness “presence”, basically. (They just came to that both of them independently, right.)

But how connected work is to the rest of life, right.

…. “Avoid ‘if only, then’ thinking”—ie, If only a bigger house or whatever, then happiness.

On the one hand, you can totally ignore the big house question if you want, but the way to really get it if you want is a little different—and the total opposite of ‘if only, then’: ~I am happy, therefore, I will have a big house.

(shrugs) Right? Try it. It’s a lot better than, “I promise to be miserable until”, don’t you think?

…. And yeah it’s the principle, “ask for what you want, even if you might not get it”—sketchy things can happen out there, and people don’t always get what they ask for from life. I still feel like just the asking from life and bringing your best game, brings its own reward, regardless of what happens in the arena because you left the safety of where you once were.

…. But yeah: “Remember the Whole Story”. I have goals around money that I don’t often see all that much progress around day to day, but the reason I have those goals at all is because I had success with my other goals, right. Sometimes things semi-predictably go wrong—I had a feeling that Mercury starting the slide into retrograde, (actually, it was specifically the Mercury-sliding-into-retrograde full moon eclipse) would make the short-game company, (smash the consumers! World capitalist revolution! Down with our customers!) kinda finish crafting their insult list and try to smash and grab what they could get realistically, right: actually, it ends up that it was more like: “punish the customer now. Figure out how that helps anything at a latter time”, right….

But yeah: the other day the guy basically had this attitude was he was going to punish me for asking where the vegan yogurt was, while he was packing out the regular yogurt. It was challenging because he didn’t just want me to know that he didn’t care: he really wanted to engage—he really wanted you to know that you were wrong, right. I ignored him: but it was a process.

So yeah. People out there, right….

But the whole story is, you know: I may be like a younger person financially speaking because of my earlier struggles, but just stepping out into the world at all—where people for some ill reason think that they’re going to get ahead by cheating you and punishing you—was the result of my earlier goals being basically successful…. It would actually be hard to just list all the roads I came to a successful end to, right…. Everything else that happens is just part of the adventures in the sequel to the original story, so to speak. A lot of people probably wouldn’t even read the sequel, but they’d be like, Yeah, that kid was alright.

…. It’s like that scene from that movie, the third Michelangelo Antonioni movie in that trilogy—and almost the only M.A. scene that had like a fucking purpose, right; slow movies are great, but if they’re subtle to the point of not saying anything, right…. But yeah there’s the guy, the rich guy, and he lost all his money (or whatever) because everybody lost all their money (or something), because the market got all sad and decided to nom on everybody, right~ and the guy just sits down at a table at a cafe and as he’s getting coffee or whatever Italians drink after they just lost a lot of money—it looked like coffee, only maybe it was like, ~Italian~, right—and he doodles these little girl doodles of flowers or whatever, and then pays and leaves his little doodles behind, like…. Well, tomorrow I make money again like before, basically.

Basically.

…. And I would like to grow to the point where being criticized unfairly doesn’t cause me stress, right. I do try to grow and change when I see that I made a mistake, and I do know that there are times when I stress myself totally out of poor mental-emotional performance, right; I don’t deny that like most people. But being criticized by someone who has nothing to offer me, so to speak—I can kinda de-escalate, but I feel a burn, right. And when someone causes a real problem—like someone has something to offer you~ punishment~ only they can’t also offer you non-punishment, right—I can take advice about what to do, but I can’t, like…. Like there’s the involuntary reaction of pain, and then there’s realizing it’s bullshit and slowly letting it burn out, kinda turn down the flame of pain, right…. Like a comedian talked about feeling a physical pain when people disliked her, and initially I thought that wasn’t me—because it’s like, it used to be something I had no control over, right: I had like, an open-ended, commitment, right~ to feeling pain: like a sort of psychotic goodie good boy version of being Edwardian-conscientious, right…. I’m very different now. But yeah, I’d like to be able to take unfair criticism—just venting and abuse, right; because it will occasionally happen in spite of everything, occasionally ~because of~ everything you do—and kinda be able to go to yourself, You’re stating criticism but your views aren’t really valid: so no action is necessary. I mean, you wouldn’t tell people that verbally, but you also wouldn’t tell them verbally, right: I am in pain…. I wish you not harm, and it will end…. But I’m feeling an involuntary clenching, inside…. ~I mean, they’d just jump on the table and scream, Voldemort was my favorite character from the Lord of the Rings! ~ right? People can be totally coo coo like Coco Puffs, you know….

The next stage is just even when people actively try to fuck with you, to just be able to smile at them and look at it as merely a practical affair, you know. And part of that is going to be the craft of my spirituality, and not the—I do kinda view Christianity as the old religion, even though it’s not the first one, or whatever—not the craft of guilt or perfection and the rest of it, right…. Pessimistic religion, right. Which is a challenge, not least because I can be quite the pessimist myself, which is why those societal teachings are hard to shed…. But yeah, it’s not all a matter of words and reasonings, because that’s what’s in place: “my, why ~this~ reaction? Almost as delusional as a normal person!”—but all the body and craft of trained emotions, right. But even to read Richard Carlson rather than really…. You know, perfection, guilt, fear, “justice”, judgment, you know—the old religion…. (And loyalty: loyalty is a lot like fear and all the rest of the guck—I don’t think that people have to be alone in a world filled with gods and men and many names: but loyalty is like, “What would happen if I were alone?”—it’s guck….)

…. I mean, pity is a fucking Charles Dickens word, right, but: when people criticize and judge, usually they have basically nothing to offer you, right, because they’re just judgmental, critical people without a whole lot of good shit in their lives, so there’s the obvious practical thing of like, you know…. I mean, someone with nothing comes to you looking for help that’s one thing, someone with nothing comes to you with like that Mussolini stance, like: I may not be the greatest evil tyrant yet, but my acting coach says not to give up!…. Right, I mean, these people criticizing you have nothing to offer you, right, and even if they take a swipe at you, your life is never going to be as fucked as theirs, basically…. And the pity is like, you know: unfortunately you can’t help people who don’t even realize that you’re not a loser—but at least you don’t have to live inside their head, right? (shrugs)

But yeah: I tend to experience the Aries energy from my chart as like childish play, you know, trying to balance my thought-energy…. But yeah, sometimes when people get hoomi at you, (as opposed to humane, right), it’s hard not to just feel a burn; I could literally be wondering how I could end the situation in order to help both of us, at least so that I never heard from the monkey hoomis again, right, but: I mean, that’s my mind, in my body I just feel a (metaphysical) burn: I don’t even know what it is.

Just to see a dispute as a practical affair, right, or a spazzy critical judgment flown in your way as a practical affair, right…. The way that Gandhi could be like, The British make a law that punishes my skin-color; this is a practical affair that requires my full attention!

Right: like I am not Gandhi, yet…. Just to be a tree, right. Sometimes I’m like a leaf.
  goosecap | Mar 25, 2024 |
I’m going to try to review this again.

Once I read this, years and years ago, and I was psychotic, so I said who knows what—probably something about World War Two. Maybe two years ago I read it again and wrote another review (an early goosecap review) that I deleted, which wasn’t offensive, really, at all, but I didn’t quite get it. I mentioned in passing not wanting to be as interesting as Hitler, and so I really chewed on the concepts, right—not quite as bad as my Brene book about Imperfection, which was Really pedantic: like I thought it was about not so much understanding life, like a well tossed salad, right, (I mean, I don’t eat salad—I get my vitamins from fruit drinks, mostly, but I needed that adjective, well-tossed, like, you kinda take that wisdom and you…. [toss, toss]), but a god-damn philosopher, right, so….

It’s pop psych. It’s easy to make fun of. In fact, maybe that’s what you’re living for…. And it’s easy to kinda raise a glass to him, tell him that you agree, that you’ll be a little boring before you start the war or, I don’t know, not so much a romance (though that, too, is a war), but actually that kinda, marshaling the books, you know; spilling your ink in battle….

Just like you would if you did Not like the book, lol.

So I don’t know exactly what the best review is; I guess if I were a famous promoter I’d just get really formal and be like, “Richard, son of Carl, is the greatest hero the West has had since Perseus, son of Jack”, right—and that is what most people kinda say, unless they say, you know, I don’t know—they find a pirate, with one leg, and one arm, and one eye, and one tooth, and they don’t know, they rob somebody right, with a slave ship, right….

Really the best response would be to tell a personal story. In place of telling a personal story of success, though, let me just say…. Was it Rumi who said, you know, We shall look again and again, and over and over again say, This is not as we had imagined it…. ~ Yeah, and Rumi wasn’t one to fuck around with the philosophers and the monks, right. Rumi was a storm. He was summer rain….

—Life is not an emergency.
—(Hermes) (eyes widen in surprise) Really….
—Yeah. It’s fine.
—I was always learning like, Life is afraid, you know. Like, with God, and everything, you know.
—People do say that.
—You know, one time, I saw a movie about an emergency. It was called World War Two: A Storm of Fire….
—I missed that one.
—Sometimes I like to feel afraid and then project the anger that I’m afraid of onto my enemy, and then I make it into a joke…. Life can be such an emergency, I feel like.
—It’s not, though.
—Oh my god…. Is that what you said before?
—Yeah.
—Wow, okay….

…..

“Your heart, the compassionate part of you, knows that it’s impossible to feel better at the expense of someone else.”

…. I read Kris Carr say in a magazine that she thought that success was dependent on having a growth mindset (which I’ve had for a long time), and, I forget the phrase she used, but like, a sense of agency; “I am enough”—which is still something I’m easing into. Richard talks about the “weatherproofing” mindset—looking for the cracks; (the ‘smiling preacher’ type talks about contentment, and not just goals, you know); he talks about it in relationships, where it can really be bad (my father and step mom still weatherproof each other, and I was miserable when I weatherproofed them), but I find I can create a low-grade sense of stress—turn it on, turn it off, turn it on again—but weatherproofing myself. Like I’m not “done” yet; I’ll never be finished—but here I am, this is me. I am enough…. I also find that we weatherproof technology a lot. I can’t prove this—nobody really understands why WiFi cuts out sometimes, etc etc—but I can’t help but speculate that the way we grouse about technology discourages it…. It makes it cut out and come back and cut out again. We can even weatherproof the critical mind itself—part of why Richard only writes a few lines at a time; eventually you just have to forget about it, which is why his other thing is telling people that you love them, etc.

…. “‘(After the obstacles, then life, etc.) Eventually I realized that those obstacles were my life.’”

And also, the obstacles tend to be more or less what we unconsciously expect them to be, you know.

…. Loyalty tends to be the belief that you have to “catch the ball” of other people’s madness; opposition is usually much the same.

The local normie guild rep wants you to see the manger family that presided over a past where moral illness was unknown. Its M.O. is to fold in the face of difficulties; its slogan is ‘Crush Others’, right. (You’ve got to be gendered just right to get into the normie guild.) But if we live in a world full of ill, crazy people—why not a few Christian ones?

…. (Neo) Are you saying that I can dodge idea balls?
(Morpheus) (nods) Together we can defeat the psycho manatees, and their idea balls.
  goosecap | Aug 14, 2023 |
A kind and grounding book. It consists of 100 bite-sized essays — I did think the number could have been reduced and it would have still covered the same ground. Not everything resonated with me, but several things did. ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
for student work ( )
  Nadia678 | Sep 13, 2022 |
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I dedicate this book to my daughters, Jazzy and Kenna, who remind me every day how important it is to remember not to "sweat the small stuff." I love you both so much, Thank you for being just the way you are.
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Whenever we're dealing with bad news, a difficult person, or a disappointment of some kind, most of us get into certain habits, ways of reacting to life--particularly adversity--that don't server us very well.
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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff is an audiobook that tells you how to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy. In thoughtful and insightful language, author Richard Carlson reveals ways to calm down in the midst of your incredibly hurried, stress-filled life. You can learn to put things into perspective by making the small daily changes Dr. Carlson suggests, including advice such as "Choose your battles wisely"; "Remind yourself that when you die, your 'in' box won't be empty"; and "Make peace with imperfection." With Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... you'll also learn how to: - Live in the present moment - Let others have the glory at times - Lower your tolerance to stress - Trust your intuitions - Live each day as it might be your last. With gentle, supportive suggestions, Dr. Carlson reveals ways to make your actions more peaceful and caring, with the added benefit of making your life more calm and stress-free.

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