I remember a young mother at a birthday party that I attended when my first daughter was a toddler. She was screaming in a shrill loud voice “NO NO NO” to her son because he had grabbed a piece of chocolate and was not allowed to have candy.
Her reaction made everyone in the room jump, because it sounded as if we were all in danger of something terrible. She was a first time mother, and I was a first time mother … we’ve all been there before … and we were both probably both a little too idealistic about all that is motherhood at the time.
In the beginning, it is difficult to know when and how to pick our battles. We learn a little later to look to the whole week’s diet to get a perspective of our children’s nutritional balance, or that a small taste of life is sometimes more beneficial to our little one than the harm that a small piece of chocolate might do. It is about gaining perspective. It comes with time.
Sometimes at work I remind myself of the same. When it is your own business you tend to get very absorbed in the world of what you have played a big part creating. There is a tendency to be too focused on the minutia, to lose perspective and become either a little demoralized or demotivated in the face of how difficult the business world can be day to day.
I always found that my own best cure to restore perspective is to travel, to get a sense of how big the world is outside of your own. My immediate fix is to take a walk through the streets of Manhattan and just really observe everything around me, people dining in the restaurants, walking on the streets, getting in and out of cabs, rushing to the subway, talking on the phone, so many people, so many faces with their own life history, family stories and experiences, all with lives to run and issues to deal with every single day. It is a big world that we live in - and while each of our lives are so very important, we are still just one of so many others.
The other day my fifth grade daughter told me “do you know mom that our planet is just like a piece of sand among the millions of other planets in the universe…”
“yes”, I responded, “and do you know that you are very smart!”