The ancient pygmy tribe in Africa have a theme for each year.
Similar to the Chinese Zodiac that assigns an animal to each
year. 2010 is the year of the Tiger, according to the Chinese
According to the ancient pygmy Zodiac, the theme for 2010
is "Today is One Day". As we close out 2009 and start 2010 we
instinctively reflect on the past year, make plans for the
coming year, and wonder how many more years we have left.
Hopefully you have made your annual New Year resolutions. I
don't worry much about New Year resolutions, such as "lose
weight, eat better, get more exercise". Who cares? We all
want to look better, have more money, less stress. Big deal.
We will make the same New Year resolutions 364 days from
Instead of taking on large goals that require dedication and
sometimes appear to be unobtainable lets focus on
identifying a few small tolerations in your life. When you
remove many small tolerations from your life, the cumulative
effect will make you say "Why didn't I do this a long time
In case you are not aware of this: A toleration is anything
that you put up with, which irritates you and makes you less
productive than you could be. For example, I worked with a
woman who struggled to use an email application. As
ridiculous as it sounds, I got this toleration out of my
life by gently teaching her how to use email. It makes her
more effective, increases the bottom line for the
corporation, and reduces my stress level when she doesn't
constantly interrupt me to send emails on her behalf.
Here is how you identify tolerations in your life:
1. Explain your routine work day and work environment to
your spouse. Ask them to just listen, because you will
discover tolerations just by explaining your routine actions
and daily details to someone else. Focus on what frustrates
2. Become aware of tolerations. When your desk is in a mess,
ask yourself "Why am I tolerating this? What would it take
to clean up this desk?" When you find yourself searching for
your pen, for the third time today, ask yourself these
3. Take 10 minutes of quiet time to think - "What frustrated
me in the last week, at home, in my car, in my family
relationships?" Identify the things and situations that make
you say "One day, I am going to fix this". Why not make that
One Day, this day?
4. Monitor your self-talk for a few minutes at a time. I
can't tell you how many times I have thought "Now where did
I put that ruler?" and spent 2 minutes looking for the ruler
in my office. Over a lifetime, this dysfunctional behavior
adds up and I would have preferred to spend the time on
productive activities instead of looking for my ruler, pen
You get the message by now - identify things in your life
that you are tolerating. Become aware of these tolerations,
and then move to step 2 - eliminate the tolerations.
Listen up - The key is to eliminate the tolerations at a
pace that makes sense for you. Don't make another New Year
resolution of "Eliminate all tolerations from my life". Your
best intentions will add to your tolerations when you add
this half-completed project to the pile.
Instead, remove each toleration, one at a time. Sort through
one bookshelf at a time, throw out what is no longer needed,
and organize what you decide to keep. Then take the next
bookshelf, office drawer, computer filing system,
half-finished home project, etc. you have tolerated all of
these leaky faucets, dirty carpets and pile of old magazines
for so long, that a few more days won't make any difference.
Eliminate one toleration, then move onto the next one.
As you go through 2010 - remember that the theme for
2010 is "Today is One Day". Why not make today that "One
Day" and remove a toleration from your life?
(Disclaimer in fine print: I have no idea
what the ancient pygmy Zodiac theme is for 2010)