Be Completely Irritated

Frankly, I think the world would be better if people were a little more irritated.

Not with the mundane things. (The coffee is too hot, the office is too cold, the walk to work is too long, and the lunch break is too short…)

But with things that truly mattered.

Of course, you point out that people are plenty irritated already. Just turn on the news, and if you don’t see what people are mad about (in the physical act of carrying out their anger), you see what they are going to be mad about later.

But let’s think of it in another way first. To use an entirely cliched example, an oyster makes a pearl with a grain of sand because it irritates the oyster enough that the mollusk engulfs it in something that it can deal with and the rest of the world thinks is beautiful. (I mean, I guess you can use the same example with eye boogies, but, well. You know.)

Now, there is enough of a lesson in there for me to stop right now. Out of something harsh and annoying, oysters make something beautiful and precious. They are probably the most optimistic sea-dwelling creatures ever, and we should follow their lead. (This is also why oysters are about as cliched as butterflies in the self-help arena.)

But there is something else that you’re missing if you are just looking at the pearl in this cliche. Rather, the real lesson is that people need to become more irritated to make their own pearls in the first place, so to speak.

Often, we are angry over minor issues and complacent over major things. I mean, why is it that we may get angry about someone’s driving on our way to work but not the fact that we have an hour commute that stresses us out everyday? I understand picking your battles, but this is your life, isn’t it? Doesn’t that mean you get to choose what you do and where you work? Why not make the change if it will make you ultimately happier?

The problem is that not enough people let themselves get irritated. They just tell themselves that they will eventually get another job that has a closer commute. Or that if they play their music loud enough, they won’t even mind the hour drive. But really, they should be downright irritated. With themselves, with their life. So much so that they are motivated, like the oyster, to make a change.

And speaking of change, being irritated and pushing yourself to live the best life you can live by constantly striving for the best is hard. In fact, if it is easy, you’re probably doing it wrong.

But don’t be afraid to get a little irritated. It just means that you want change and that you are passionate about getting it. You don’t have to see the whole process; you just need a plan to rid yourself of complacency. Just ask the oyster. If he or she left the grain of sand alone, we wouldn’t have pearls.

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