Don’t sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

When I am in London with a bit of time to spare between meetings and I am full of coffee I nip into Waterstones to look at the self-help/coaching books to see if there is another book to take its place on my shelf of books to read next! My wife Jo is a bit of a perfectionist or always does a better job than me so I thought “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson may benefit her. Then, I was in a coaching session where coping mechanisms seemed to be the order of the day and the coachee actually used the same title hence my summary of the less wacky ones below which might support people going forward.

My coachee was irritated by a colleague’s mannerisms and interruptions at work. I find myself getting upset with drivers who are not polite (the majority) or don’t show consideration. What irritates you and causes you to get up tight and drains your energy?

Make peace with imperfection – as you begin to eliminate your need for perfection in all areas of your life, you’ll begin to understand the perfection of life itself

Let go of the idea that gentle, relaxed people can’t be super achievers – when you have what you want you are less distracted by your wants, needs, desires and concerns. It’s thus easier to concentrate, focus, achieve your goals, and to give back to others.

Be aware of the snowball effect of your thinking – being overwhelmed does not help clear thinking. There is a simple exercise you can do to assist this situation but you will have to buy the book!

Remind yourself that when you die, your “in basket” won’t be empty – I remember when my company went bust I had a full “in basket” which wasn’t of any use at all as there was no longer a company!

Do something nice for someone else and don’t tell anyone about it – I can relate to this but I can’t tell you otherwise I would have to kill you!

Learn to live in the present moment – Mark Twain said “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened” Keep thinking of the here and now.

Let others be right most of the time – it must be quite stressful being an expert, fortunately I have never really been in that situation!

Become more patient – easier said than done but how often do we get annoyed about the most innocuous things?

Ask yourself the question, will this matter a year from now? – is this situation really as important as I am making it out to be?

Surrender to the fact that life isn’t fair – I find that there are always people worse off than me so life has been very fair overall

Allow yourself to be bored – I have had difficulty with this but if you can be bored it does take the pressure off you to be performing and doing something every second of the day

Set aside quiet time, every day – what every day? It could be in the gym, doing yoga, on the train into work, stopping for a minute in the car on the way home before entering your house.

If somebody throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it! – how to say No is something I come across a lot in coaching.

Lighten up and stop blaming others – I am starting to cheat now wrapping two together. Too much in life can be taken too seriously and trying to deflect blame is pretty exhausting.

Remember these are my meaningful moments and I have only chosen 15 out of a hundred tips to keep the little things from overtaking your life. I therefore suggest you buy the book or if something is really causing you to be stuck, go and see a coach who is best suited to your needs. If I can be of use email me at or visit my website

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