There is a very small particle of some kind that has found its way into the inner chambers of my car’s dashboard. When it is quiet in the car (if I’m not jamming out to some Skynyrd) and I go around a turn, I can hear it bounce and rattle from one end of the dashboard to the other. I have no idea what it is or how it got there. But I can’t deny that it’s in there somewhere because I hear it.
There are little things in life that bother me much like this little pebble in my dashboard. I notice them sometimes, only when it gets really quiet, but I can’t always put my finger on what they are. Little irritations and annoyances pop up every once in a while and provide us with an opportunity to make a decision: what will we do about it? We can choose to let it go, or we can let it drive us crazy until we start ripping things apart to find it.
If I wanted to, I could disassemble the dashboard of my car in an attempt to extract the mysterious particle from the inside. But I have attempted enough projects like that in past to know that I’d probably end up with extra pieces when it was all over. I could pay someone else to fix it, but that’s a lot of work and would thus be a lot of money.
I think you get the point: the cost of removing the tiny problem simply isn’t worth it. The fact that it’s there really makes no difference, providing I don’t fixate on the problem and let it occupy my thoughts.
Problems are things that everyone deals with. Anyone who claims to have a problem-free life clearly HAS a problem! But an important skill of leadership is learning to discern which problems require your attention and which ones don’t. As the saying goes, “don’t sweat the small stuff” because the small things often distract you from what really matters (like maintaining the engine or getting new tires). Stay focused on the road and keep moving forward.