Rachel is sitting in a morning traffic looking at an endless row of cars in front of her. The car moves a mere two meters and it’s time to stop again. It seems to take ages to get across this particular roundabout, and it’s the same struggle every morning. She starts shouting at her children on the back seat who are getting restless. Why can’t they just be quiet! Oh why do I have to sit in this damned traffic every morning!
Like most parents, Rachel has to drive her kids to a local school every morning. It’s not too far from where she lives but just far enough that it’s too long to walk. She spends almost an hour to a trip that shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. And when she finally gets back she’s always angry and frustrated. What a life! My day is ruined!
I see Rachel every morning on my way back from my school run. I breeze past her on the oncoming lane driving against the traffic. I play my music out loud (some 80’s big hair rock, most likely) and pass her with a smile. Life is great, my day is not a struggle!
And the only thing that separates me from Rachel and all the mothers in the traffic is 5 minutes. I leave five minutes earlier than them. Every morning. Without a fail.
My intention is not to brag about my organisational skills (oh, but I’m so brilliant), but to share a big insight.
The difference between a struggle and ease is often a matter of a very small adjustment.
I realised this one morning as I was driving back home. I almost never get stuck in traffic yet I see all other mothers struggling slowly up the hill towards the school at a snail’s pace. And I realised that this is the only reality Rachel may ever see. She believes life is like this.
You see, I have this peculiar trait. I refuse to accept unnecessary struggle as a norm.
So when my kids started at this new school last September I decided to figure out an optimal time to leave for school. It’s 7.55 am from my house. One morning I left at 8 am and it was already too late, I got stuck in the traffic. (And now I’m a little hitler when it comes to getting out of the house, so we do not fail at this anymore.)
But this got me thinking.
What if most things in life are like the morning school run?
What if the struggle we see is not a reality, and all we’d have to do is a small ‘five minute’ adjustment?
If living with ease is only a five minute adjustment away in my school run, what are the small adjustments I need to make elsewhere in my life to move away from struggle?
Many people live in a constant daily hardship that is completely unnecessary.
Let’s look at other daily struggles that people put up with.
65 hour workweek!
Lack of confidence at challenging situations!
Bad quality of sleep!
Recurring back pain!
Daily lack of energy!
Frustration in a relationship!
The day you stop accepting struggle as a norm your life will change.
Rachel has accepted her morning struggle as a norm. “Ah, this is just how life is. And life sucks. I can’t change it. Of course there’s morning traffic!” And she never makes the effort to experiment with different solutions.
But changing one thing, one single habit in your life could completely change the outcome.
Let’s take the daily energy for instance. Perhaps the adjustment would be to start every mean with a portion of fruit, as Geeta Sidhu-Robb (founder of Nosh Detox) suggested in January at the Festival Of Doers. She said you don’t even have to change anything in your regular diet, just add the fruit to see big health benefits!
Or bad quality of sleep? How about switching off all digital devices 1 hour prior to going to bed. Research shows how this tiny adjustment can reduce anxiety and improve the quality of your sleep significantly.
And what about that financial struggle? Establishing a habit of saving and automatically putting away 10% of your income as it lands on your account would completely change your financial future. That’s not such a bit effort to set up.
The list goes on.
What ever you are struggling with, the solution might lie only a small adjustment away.
And often this is just a matter of training your mindset and saying a firm ‘no’ to your struggle. As long as you accept the daily hardship as a norm it’s very difficult to change it. The day you decide that ‘enough is enough’ you can start experimenting and your experiments will eventually lead to a positive solution.
What in your daily struggle you want to change? What area of your life is in a need of an immediate ‘5 minute’ adjustment?
Join DrivenWoman to be supported by other women who are trying to experiment and find their own ‘5 minute adjustment’ in order to live a bigger life. Check out our schedule for upcoming Introduction evenings in London Soho, Shoreditch, South Hampstead, Wimbledon, Guildford and in Helsinki, Zurich and Singapore.