Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nickels and Quarters

About 20 years ago, I spoke with a woman who had been married for over 60 years. Not only had she been happily married but she and her husband also worked together! With this rare opportunity in front of me, I asked her for her secret to marital success. She thought for a second and said, “There are nickel battles and quarter battles. Fight over the quarters and let the nickels go.” I’ve never forgotten that. In fact, it is a critical life lesson that applies to a variety of situations (family relationships, friendships, work, driving in traffic…).

How often do we get caught up in nickel battles? How much time do we spend stewing over small slights and petty arguments? As easy-going as I am, for years, I harbored one dark secret. I suffered from road rage. I mean road rage so bad that, on several occasions, people got out of their cars and came after me. It was bad!

Yet, a few years back, I got a ticket. To avoid the fee and the points, I had the option of going to bad driver’s class and I jumped at the opportunity. The instructor actually made the class fun. When she touched on road rage, she focused on how truly insignificant the incidents that incite road rage really are. At that point, I realized that I had been fighting over nickels every time I got upset. Nickels! Definitely not worth my time.

I don’t think we need help knowing the difference between nickels and quarters. We just need to learn not to react to nickels the same way we react to quarters. We need to learn, even if we are annoyed to just take a deep breath and move on. We need to learn not to carry those nickels around all of the time. When compared to the quarters, they aren’t worth that much anyway.

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