Don’t take it personally


Don’t take it personally. Or should I say try not to take it personally.

The ability to not take it personally is a skill. It is about not getting stressed. Not losing patience. Not being irritated. Not getting too emotional …. The list goes on.

Personally, I am an irritable person. And you could say a bit of a stress head. So, there are times when I do take it personally.

But with some self-awareness we can try to be a little bit calmer. Or as Trevor Mowad would say, more neutral (It takes what it takes).

Frederik Imbo discusses this in his excellent TED talk.

How not to take things personally?

Frederik is a referee (local football). He made this decision to keep fit and to learn how not to take things personally.

Everything that goes wrong on the football pitch is the ref’s fault. The ref is the scapegoat. If you are into football, you will probably have had a good whinge about the ref. Or if you’ve played, you will have had a good whinge at the ref. I know I have!

He wanted to learn to take the abuse and not to take it personally.

One of his examples is when you are driving and there is a tailgator behind you. You know, when someone is driving right up your ass!

Personally, I have taken this very personally in the past. It used to make my blood boil.

How does he do it then? Or how has he learned to not take it personally?

  • He is conscious of it (self-awareness)
  • He has a strategy to stop himself from taking things personally

His strategy comes in 2 parts.

Strategy 1 – “it’s not about me, it’s about we.” It’s about we is about looking at someone else’s perspective.

By shifting your focus from me to we – will help you to not take things personally. This means that understanding will replace irritability and frustration.

The tailgator does it because he or she is in a rush to get somewhere. Maybe they shouldn’t be up my ass. But by looking at it from a we perspective, we understand why they are up our asses and don’t get pissed off. Getting pissed off and letting road rage kick in will only affect us negatively.

Strategy 2 – “it is about me.” When the first strategy doesn’t work, it is about me. It is about me because I have let my misgivings negatively affect me.

Even if I know the tailgator has probably got something going on in his or her life, I still let road rage kick in. Well, that is on me. Road rage really won’t help me and won’t achieve anything.

What to do?

What normally makes you angry or frustrated? What makes you take it personally?

If your friend doesn’t text you back or your partner doesn’t text you back? This might piss you off. Practice not taking it personally.

Look at the strategy’s above and try it out. It has helped me when dealing with tailgators. I don’t take it personally anymore. It has taken some practice, but I don’t get frustrated when driving.

It used to make my blood boil when someone was up my ass. Not anymore.

If someone didn’t acknowledge me if I let them pass in their car, it would make my blood boil. Not anymore.

Don’t take my word for it, listen to this excellent TedTalk, Dont take it personally. Let Frederik explain his strategies and help you to not take it personally.

Book of the week: Learn the Hard Way, teach the easy way, by Peter Duffy. This book cares about you and your financial future. It looks at money mindset, financial literacy and financial independence (Learn the hard way, teach the easy way).

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: Imagined Things.

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