A few weeks ago, my coffee cup broke. After some research and deliberation, I bought a new one. It’s great. Stainless steel, matte finish, and a sippy cup lid that keeps the coffee from spilling.
And yet, every now and then, I grab it, take a sip and…OW! That hurts! The coffee was too hot!
Okay. Stop. Let’s hit pause. Right there. This, as we say, is “the moment when the frog runs into the water.” In the split second the coffee burns my lips, right before I react, I get to decide: will I take this with equanimity or will I go on a rant?
Sure, I could curse the coffee, cup, and its maker into oblivion. But what good does that do? My lips are still burnt. My tongue still hurts. And my mindset is ruined.
Or, I can recount what happened. A little more calmly this time. Ow. That hurts. The coffee was too hot. Staying in my head instead of turning outside allows me to sit with the event. To learn from it.
Here, the obvious lesson is: I should have been slower. It’s my fault. But that’s easy to forgive. We all rush sometimes. We get excited. We’re too hasty and we make a mistake. Those will always happen from time to time. But that’s no reason to detonate.
So what? The coffee was too hot. Wipe your mouth, have some water, and pay more attention.
It’s true that, in these split second moments, we decide who we’re going to be. But there are millions of chances to decide anew. Don’t get hung up on any one of them.