The Long, Stony Journey

This morning, as I was opening the front door to embark on a five-hour trip home, I noticed a sting in my big toe. “That must be a tiny stone,” I thought. For a moment, I stood there, deliberating. “Do I ignore it and just go?” Instead, I decided to take off my shoe and remove the pebble.

Whenever you find yourself thinking before you act, know that the pause is a gift. A lucky break offering the chance to insert some patience, mindfulness, or perseverance into your day. While these are all traits almost universally worth cultivating, some situations deserve our best effort more than others — and since they’re never in infinite supply, we must occasionally pick our battles.

Of such battles, a half-day tussle with a grievance that takes 15 seconds to fix is perhaps not the most deserving of our fighting. The stone is literally cold and figuratively indifferent, and if you can both easily see and remove an obstacle, why would you endure it?

Never start a long journey with a pebble in your shoe, and never waste your best performance on a challenge you can avoid.