Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff? Dave Dee was On the Right Track

by John Zajaros on January 24, 2011

This puts it all in perspective by Dave Dee

About the BIG STUFF!

I was reading Dave Dee’s article about a friend in seemingly dire straits and Dave’s take on the situation. Interestingly, Dave mentioned two of my favorite works, one a self-help book by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. entitled DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…and it’s all small stuff ~ Simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life and the other an all-time holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life with James Stewart.

Dave Dee begins his article by talking about a friend in trouble and how he was able to help his friend put things in perspective using the above mentioned works and a Ben Franklin-esque technique, writing things out on a pad of paper. Dave then mentions an event involving his ex-wife and his children that brought the points he had been making for his friend home and into his own life.

Again, Dave used the two works mentioned above, applying the lessons he had learned from them, and from others, to bring home his points in order to help his friend work through his crisis.

I will quote a bit of Dave’s article here to get you going, I suggest you get the rest directly from his website.

I had quite a night last Thursday. I went to visit a friend of mine who is having money troubles and is totally stressed out and depressed. He lost is his job and has taken a job at half of what he was making. That’s a tough place to be. He was down like I had never seen him before….

There is book titled, “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: And Remember It’s All Stuff.” I agree with the first part of the title and disagree with the second.

Most certainly we sweat a lot of small stuff – stuff that in the end does not matter. However there is BIG STUFF in life and we sometimes need to use the big stuff to remind of us of what is really important in our lives and to put the small stuff that isn’t going well, into perspective….

I suggest reading the entire article, it is worth your time.

Once I had completed the piece, I started commenting…as I often do. A short comment quickly grew into a long comment and then to a blog post in its own right.

The comment–long comment–blog post is below. Some of you will recognize part of the story but bear with me…thanks!

The title is, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF…and it’s all small stuff. It is a “wonderful” book and I agree with your first point. However, I disagree with your analysis of the second segment of the title. The point of the book is that, in that Grand Scheme, “it is all small stuff.”

The book’s title is right on the money, pun intended.

I will explain:

Having survived a near fatal illness, battling for my life for well over a decade, I lost almost everything. Going from a comfortable living, making well in excess of 6 figures, living in a comfortable westside Cleveland suburb, one Dan Kennedy is intimately familiar with, we ended up 3 days away from a life in a ’92 Cavalier Wagon or moving to a duplex from h#ll in a neighboring and not-so-comfortable suburb.

My wife cried the day we signed the rental application. By that time we were literally devastated financially, having liquidated everything, everything! We were even praying the landlord would not run the application, if you know what I mean.

We were at the end of the line and needed one more miracle…or we were homeless!

Have I just described the worst case for many?

Probably worse!

It’s not. I can tell you this, the worst case is losing your life!

Or is it?

In fact, the worst case is facing death after depleting all your assets to save your life, knowing if you ultimately lose the battle, your loved ones with have lost you, their home, their college educations (at least in the short run), your earning power, their sole support, every penny in savings, retirement accounts, insurance policies (Catch 22: If you can’t buy food, you can’t pay life insurance premiums), and all the rest of the really “BIG STUFF” you gladly fork over as you fight for life.

The kicker?

I survived! I owe my life to an amazing team of physicians at University Hospitals, in Cleveland, an amazing network of family and friends that would not give up on me, and eternal optimism on my part.

Yes, even the vaunted Cleveland Clinic had misdiagnosed my condition, written me off, and came very close to causing my death.

Ironically, had I perished, my family would have been set financially! Unacceptable to them, almost attractive to me near the end…almost!

You see, I learned that, in the end, the worst case we imagine doesn’t come close to what the worst case may end up being.

It is indeed “all small stuff” because the only BIG STUFF, the only things that matter are:

Life, Family, Friends, and Faith!

Everything else can be replaced!

Interestingly, once your lose “everything,” you may discover that everything you once considered irreplaceable…is. Most of what you once believed crucial, necessary for life, isn’t.

And the rest is, in fact, at best, inconsequential.

I hope Dave’s friend makes it through his current crisis. With friends like Dave, I’d be willing to bet that he’ll do just fine!

Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you will also take a moment and provide your take on Dave’s thoughts and mine.

I’d love to hear from you!

John Zajaros
440-821-7018 (cell)

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