Stopping Irritations

In our current culture there is a lot of talk about the environment. Many people working in many causes. Today, though, we’re to chat about the environments you live in but not the creek in your neighborhood nor the Amazon rainforests.

Jim Bunch, developer of The Ultimate Game of LIfe transformational development program, lays out these nine environments that every person has. Jim is a mentor of mine that believes that humans are more apt to more fully engage in a game than they are in “work”. And that life is a team sport. It is a fascinating approach that I am enjoying learning about.

First there is you–the core of you that is unchanging. You are surrounded by these nine environments.

• Memetic–beliefs, ideas, knowledge, cultural norms
• Body–physical body, health, energy
• Self–personality, gifts, talents, strengths, emotions
• Spiritual–Connection to a higher source, love, and self
• Relationships–Family, friends, close colleagues, support personnel
• Network–Community, strategic partners, customers
• Financial–Money, investments, budgeting, insurance
• Physical–Home, office, furnishings, equipment/technology
• Nature–Outdoors, beauty, seasons, cycle of life

Whether you agree with how Jim’s got them grouped isn’t important. We can agree that we’ve all got these going on. Now we’re at the “so what?”

Are these environments supporting you or not? As you continue to take 100 percent responsibility for your life, let’s visit about tolerations and irritations. One week we will address a bucket list; you know a list of experiences, possessions, or qualities you want before you die. This week, though, is about experiences, possessions or qualities that you irritate you and that you tolerate.

Grab a piece of paper, divide it into four vertical columns. Write these headers across the top, one for each column.

1. What is irritating me?
2. How can I fix it?
3. Who can I delegate all or part of fixing it to?
4. Due date

An easy first way to do this is with your physical environment of where you live–no matter if you own a home, rent an apartment, have roommates. When you walk through that space, write down those things you are tolerating or that irritate you. What irritates you may not be what would irritate me, so don’t make a value judgment about whether something ought or ought not irritate/bother you. If it does, write it down in that first column.

In the next column of “how can I fix it” write down the steps to accomplish that. Then, can you delegate it in all or part to someone else? Then, when you’ll have it accomplished by.

Here’s an example:
Irritating me: The kitchen faucet that drips and I have to turn off the hot water underneath it to keep it from dripping.

How to fix it: Replace the faucet, or some part of the faucet.

Who can I delegate it to: Plumber or a friend who knows about plumbing.

Due date
: I will call a plumber the next pay period.

Even going through this simple process of writing these down and the due date, helps relieve the feelings of irritation that cause negative energy in our day. Remember, you are 100 percent responsible for your life. As you want to create your life so that it has fewer and fewer irritations, so that your energies are more fully directed at using your God-given strengths out in the world.

I have been fascinated about how a messy closet or drawer, an unkempt area of the yard, a wobbly chair, or wall art that no longer inspires impact how I go through each day. How filling out fully the four columns gives me mental permission to set an irritation aside because I know it is going away at a particular set day. Yes, even if the due date isn’t right now. I know you’ll find it true for yourself, too. Will you try it? Remember, nothing changes until you do.

I’m off to fix something on my irritation list right now. Re-gluing those drawers to an old chest have been bothering me since Thanksgiving. Long enough don’t you think?


How have you been choosing what you think about? Do you find it is challenging as I do? I know from experience it does get easier with daily, consistent practice.

When I have feelings of anxiety, or frustration rises up, or any other feeling of emotional dis-ease, it is the warning sign to review what I am thinking about in an objective fashion. Also to say to myself “Is this what I want to think about? Are these the thoughts that move my day forward in the way that fits the type of person I want to be? And the things I set out to accomplish today?”

The other side to this coin is what are we putting our attention on? Have we decided intentionally the type of person we want to be? The experiences we want our life to consist of? The possessions that would mean the most to us?

It is so easy to go along in the flow of life without a plan, buffeted along by our day-to-day living. Last week I gave you short list of ways to take more control over your days. A few weeks before, I gave you a simple plan to discover your purpose.

Are you trying them out? Or are you finding internal resistance to paying attention to your very own life and what you want that life to be?

When we set about to take 100 percent responsibility for what is happening within us, there will be resistance. Usually it is our own self that is resistant. Often, those who surround us, too. Be aware. Not wary. Aware.

These principles I am sharing with you point you to giving your attention to what is important to you, especially who you want to be. Imagine your funeral, what do you want the people gathered to say about the type of person you were and the life that you lived? What do you want them to say about how you served those around you?

Take a quiet half-hour with pen and paper in hand and write it out. It isn’t scary, it is a fascinating process. Write a list of words, or sentences or the entire ceremony. Then compare it to your life now. You may be totally on track with that and if you are I say “Bravo! Keep it up!”

If there are areas in your life where you see that you have many opportunities to grow into that person, then begin. Give your attention to that. Not in a crazy, chaotic fashion but with intention.

Have you heard this saying?

“No one can do your push-ups for you.”

That speaks to me. Concepts I see are:
• If I want change, I have be the one to change.

• Change requires diligence on my part.

• Change requires longterm commitment to the change I want.

• What I want has to be important enough to me to do the work consistently–to do the work when my brain is saying “I don’t want to.”

• I have to make the room in my life to do that work.

As we go through the weeks, there are many concepts and principles we’ll go through. Don’t imagine that you’ll knock them into your life every week. Let them inform you and encourage you. Adopt them thoughtfully into your life. That isn’t going to be all at once. It isn’t like a diet where we do things a few weeks and then go back to our long ingrained habits of food. Instead, this is about a diligent, thoughtful implementation of a new way of eating. It takes time.

Yes, yes I know the research that says 21-days to make a new habit. If you chose the new habit of taking 100 percent responsibility for your own life and practiced it for 21 days, do not expect it to be an ingrained habit of yours if you’ve been blaming others for years. I don’t want you to think you have failed.

If you’ve had any kind of habit for years–whether of thought or action–and you decide it no longer serves you and those you love, be ready to be in for a long haul of change. Don’t be discouraged, it is worth any effort you give it.