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Small Problems. Small Reactions.

Posted by George Parker on
Small Problems. Small Reactions.

There’s a student-run store at my son’s elementary school. It only opens on Fridays and only in the mornings for 30 minutes. Everything is $1 or less. The most popular items are “designer” pencils, erasers, bouncy balls, and slimy things.  

Last Friday, chaos struck. The fourth-grade class runs the school store, but they were out of school on an overnight field trip. They forgot to tell all the kids that the school store would be closed! There was a huddle of teary-eyed first graders desperately hoping to spend their hard-earned dollars.

Fortunately, our school does an excellent job teaching. There’s a concept the kids learn about the size of the problem and the size of the reaction. The first graders eventually decided that having no school store was a “small problem” and warranted a small response. Peace was restored, and the day began.

Now, I certainly wasn’t as well adjusted at 6-years old. I probably would have thrown a fit and been mad all day. Kids these days 😉

Later that day, I started thinking about unexpected “school store” closures in my own life --- especially running.

How many of you have started a race with a plan? And then BOOM! Something happens, and the plan is thrown into chaos. You miss an aid station. You drop your gels, fumbling in your pocket. Your shoe comes unlaced. Nature hits, and you have to make a pit stop. Should I even bring up chafing?!?

Size of the problem, size of the reaction. Any of these events are only a handful of seconds. But they have the ability, if you let it, to ruin a whole race. I’ve been a victim of these events many times. One small event, which I have no control over, disrupts my plan. My brain goes into overdrive, telling me everything is over. It’s only when I conquer those thoughts, deal with the minor inconvenience, and get on with my race that I have the best days.

Small problem. Small reactions.

Have a great week!

-George

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