If I have this right, there is an old Chinese proverb that goes like this: Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. (Tao Te Ching, ancient Chinese Philosophy).
I think we would be shocked if we really took a good hard look and noted how much of our day or week is spent in trying to please some one or some thing. It’s eye opening when you take a moment to realize that perhaps alot of our time, energy, and resources might be going into or being invested in people, organizations, or things that really won’t matter down the road. Sometimes, alot of unnecessary frustration is born out of this very basic scenario.
A friend and I were discussing this dilemna of sorts, and she quickly put it into easy-to-grasp terms for me. She was expounding on how when a problem arose in her life that just didn’t sit quite right, she would stop and ask this question: “Will I still be attached to this situation, or know this person 5 years from now. And if I don’t, will it matter?” I thought that was a great way to stop and evaluate any given moment where we feel a bit out of control. Basically, in five years, will that organization, or person, or job be in your life? And if not, will it matter?” Talk about some fast perspective. So I decided to stop and take stock of how much of my life I was pouring into things that might not even be there in the future. And too, if I was mostly involved in them for approval sake.
You have to be very careful with this one, but if you take it realistically, and honestly, (and in proper moderation) it’s some good brain work. Try it, and the next time you find that you are really upset or frustrated about something, ask the “5-year” question. It might bring some much needed, immediate relief. See what you think.