It’s a hard life when one of the things that annoys you is stupid people. It was my biggest annoyance, by far. Everywhere I turned was something eye-roll worthy that would piss me right off. The sheer number of stupid people out there made it unlikely to get a day’s respite from Idiocracy. I understood why old people never left the house.
Now add to that all the other shit that pissed me off and I basically became Lewis Black. Here’s just a quick list of just some of the things that would get on my nerves (a list that is in no way exhaustive):
- slow drivers
- people in line who take up the aisle (back up and leave a damn space so people can get through)
- saggy jeans
- skinny jeans
- high-waisted jeans
- sandals with socks
- people in public with their phones on speaker
- other people’s loud, stupid music
- other people’s kids
- Justin Bieber’s face
- cops who try to make shit up like, you know, laws
- the lack of urgency of the employees at the post office
- homeless person turds on the sidewalk
- people who walk loudly
- people who stand in doorways or stop at the bottom of the escalator
- people who use too many hashtags
- entire conversations in text
- read receipts
- Amazon reviews for things unrelated to the content of the book
- hipster culture
- Justin Bieber’s face
- incompetent leadership
That’s just what I could come up with off the top of my head. I bet if I kept going, after a while you’d think I had a problem. Check out the comments on this list of pet peeves. A lot of people agree this person needs to lighten up. That’s the point, though. At what point are you being ridiculous? At what point are you getting annoyed by the littlest things?
If you think about it, we can probably all list something someone else is annoyed by that’s really not that big a deal. We can all recall a time when someone overreacted to something trivial. But where is the line?
That’s a trick question. It’s all trivial, basically. (Sure, look, if someone is dying or whatever, yeah. Be annoyed.) Think about most of the shit we find annoying and you’ll soon discover that it’s all a waste of our energy. We are renting head space out to things that don’t matter. Giving it our attention, our energy, our emotions. It all adds up to superfluous stress.
I call it self-induced stress.
I figured out that 80% of the things I was annoyed by didn’t actually deserve my attention. Yeah, it’s basically the Pareto Principle. But it’s legit. You can cut out so much distraction from your life. Just choose to stop responding to things that don’t deserve your energy. All these annoyances start to add up, and they really become apparent during a time of crisis. We tend to snap at the littlest things, and people always wonder what the hell is wrong with us.
Picture someone with a backpack on. If they threw a penny into their backpack every time something annoyed them, it would eventually fill up. They’d be carrying around all that extra weight for no reason. Let go of the stuff that’s meaningless. Why was I letting Justin Bieber piss me off?
I was choosing to be annoyed by his face, that’s why. Same with all the other things. It’s my choice what I react to. And I can tell you this — life is WAY more satisfying when I stopped being annoyed by things that don’t deserve my attention.