As you can tell from the title, this is going to be a very sophisticated post.
THE 80/20 PRINCIPLE
Vilfredo Pareto observed in 1906, just a few years before my great grandparents emigrated from there to the US, that 80% of Italian land was owned by 20% of the population.
It turns out that this is a fairly common distribution, and it has been applied to lots of relationships. The Pareto Principle also leads us to the observation that 80% of difficulties and complaints come from 20% of the people in your life. Timothy Ferriss, in his book The 4-Hour Workweek, counsels us to fire these 20% of our acquaintances. Eliminate them from our life. Gone.
Thankfully, Jesus of Nazareth doesn’t fire those of us that give him the most headaches. We should ignore the prescription of Mr Ferriss.
PROTOCOLS FOR THE FRETFUL
At the same time, we would be foolish to ignore his observation. And we must do something about its facticity. What do we do? Whenever I discover that I’m becoming fretful over the crappy attitudes, hurtful remarks, and tiresome actions of just a handful of people in my life, I have deployed the following two-step protocol.
- Pray: “Jesus, you love the unlovable, and you make them lovely because you love them. I know this from intimate personal experience, namely, in your lavish love for me. Give me the grace to forgive the people who are causing me grief regardless of whether they ask for it. And give me the spiritual poise to put the fretting behind me. Amen.”
- Recite: “Save the drama fo yo mama.” It’s important not to dissect the mantra or diagram the sentence, searching for the exact referents for, say, the indirect object “yo mama”. This is merely something that—once I’ve prayed—reminds me that the negativity of others does not need to deplete the tranquility of yours truly.
The great thing about the 80/20 Save-the-Drama thing is this: I’m probably being a drama queen 20% of the time, and I can train others to ignore my dramaturgy.
The tools of the trade: forbearance, prayer, and a ready-at-hand mantra. Don’t plant a church, or even roll out of bed, without them.
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