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Blogs From Exile

Don't let the small hurts get you down


Recently, it felt like a whole host of petty annoyances were piling up around me. Work issues, scheduling conflicts, and more than the usual number of writing rejections.


Most of us can deal pretty easily with the minor problems life throws at us, but when they come in larger numbers the impact seems almost multiplicative. Before we can deal with the issues we have, more come tumbling down on us. It's easy to feel overwhelmed.

While this was happening to me, I was reminded of a saying from my time in the Army. Shortly after graduating from West Point, I attended one of the Army's most challenging schools--a 60-day commando training program called Ranger. Ranger is characterised by sleep and food deprivation, physical exertion involving heavy rucksacks and difficult terrain, and all while being harassed by a team of experts called Ranger Instructors.

The school begins with two weeks of intensive land navigation and road marching that can seriously tear up your feet. Walking on blisters can really sap your energy, and when you add that pain to hunger pangs and exhaustion, it can feel insurmountable.

One of the Ranger Instructors advised us, "Don't let the little hurts get you down" and I really took that to heart. Instead of bemoaning the long list of discomforts afflicting me, I focused instead on each one separately and viewed it as a "little hurt" that could be managed. It was nothing more than a mental trick, but it worked.

So the next time things are stacking up on you and it feels like you're sinking, remember not to let the little hurts win. Deal with the issues one at a time, and see how much more effectively you'll manage them.

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