The following is an excerpt from the book Not Being Bothered by Dan Sullivan.
It’s important to recognize the countless bothers you’ve experienced in your life and that anything can be a bother because you can now begin to understand where your bothers come from.
For example, you realize that a particular situation that is suddenly bothering you today never bothered you in the past. And something that bothered you last week isn’t bothering you today. The same thing is true about particular people. Some may have bothered you in the past, but they don’t bother you today.
So, taking all of these experiences into account over your entire lifetime, it begins to look like almost anything can bother you. Now that you’ve discovered this, you won’t forget it. And because you won’t forget it, it will transform how you handle all your bothers in the future.
Some people never come to grips with their bothers. They never learn from the experiences that annoy, irritate, and upset them. Just waking up in the morning reminds them of everything that bothers them. They try to cope with many different kinds of distractions and activities to help them forget about all their bothers, but none of them work for very long. Soon enough, everything they hope will free them from their bothers only turns into the next thing that bothers them.
What causes them?
But you now realize that your bothers don’t actually come from anywhere outside of you. When you compare any experience that bothers you today with the same or similar experience that happened in the past, you see that the experiences themselves cannot explain why you’re bothered.
In fact, you’ll find that the only factor that’s present in every single situation is you. What this means is that the answer as to why you’re bothered by different people or situations at different times can be found inside yourself, not by simply looking at the outside circumstances that are present when you’re bothered.
You’re in your own universe inside of the big universe, and you can be in control of your own universe.
Today, not yesterday.
You’ve been puzzled when you’ve thought about how things that didn’t bother you before suddenly do. Someone who never bothered you before suddenly does. And the reverse is also true—you’re fascinated by the fact that situations and people that bothered you in the past no longer do.
When you first encounter a bother, 90 percent of the problem is that you get caught up in the emotions of it. What you need to do is ask yourself, “If this didn’t bother me, how would I handle it?” Your emotions can’t answer that question. Your emotions are alerts and censors, but they’re not problem solvers that can create a course of action to solve something.
Only your intellect can do that. So, what you do by asking this question is break the spell and give control back to your brain. Your brain will provide suggestions as to what you can do, and if you go ahead and take those actions and achieve something, you’ll likely discover that you’re no longer bothered by what was bothering you before.
And even more than that, you most likely won’t be bothered again if you find yourself in a similar situation in the future. That’s what you gain when you achieve some usefulness out of being bothered.
All the same.
Your whole lifetime’s collection of bothers, for as long as you can remember, seem to be remarkably the same. That is, almost anything that happens to you can bother you. And almost anything that’s bothered you can stop bothering you.
You’re starting to see that throughout your entire life, every bother you’ve experienced was strictly your doing. No one else had a hand in it. And you can see that the same is also true for everybody else, with them being responsible for every one of their own bothers throughout their entire lives.
Some people react to their experiences of being bothered by being loud about it, which can give the impression that their bother is a more serious situation than it is. But you have no need or desire to shout about it when you experience bother.
Changing your meaning.
In a very important and permanent way, you’re fundamentally changing the meaning of your whole life up until now.
And what you’re changing in your thinking about your past, you realize, automatically applies to your future. With one shift of mindset, you’re changing who you think you are.
For a lot of people, the main thing in their life is everything that’s ever bothered them since they became conscious. And a lot of people react to feeling bothered by trying to eliminate all the factors outside of themselves that make them feel bothered.
You, on the other hand, now know that all of the bother you experience comes not from the outside, but from inside yourself, and instead of wasting your powerful emotions by focusing on outside factors, you’re going to use them to produce progress in your life.
Liberating your future.
You now know that if anything can be a bother to you, then the same thing is true for everyone else. What this means is that other people are not the cause of your bothers, and you’ve never been—and never will be—the cause of anyone else’s bothers. This is enormously liberating!
You can now feel the freedom of knowing that you are, you have been, and you will be responsible only for your own bothers, not for anyone else’s. And it’s equally liberating to know that no one else has caused or will cause any of your bothers. You are in control, and you can choose right now to make progress every quarter in the way you deal with being bothered.