How to make big problems small and small problems big

I’m on a plane right now.  I always find plane/train rides to be some of the best times to focus and get work done.  On this trip, I managed to get two “monkeys” off my back — little tasks that have been lingering in the back of my mind for a long time, and that I’ve been avoiding.  It doesn’t matter what they are, but I can tell you that one of them was tiny — so tiny (literally 5 minutes to do), and one of them was sort of medium-sized (maybe 2 hours).  So on this trip I finally stopped avoiding them   Having these little monkeys is the worst feeling, and clearing them out feels so good.

What is so pernicious about avoidance is the way it turns small problems into big problems.  I’ve written before about how Pain x Resistance = Suffering.  The more you avoid/resist, the more pain you feel and the larger your “problem” actually gets.  A 5 minute thing turns into hours, days, or weeks of avoidance.  Avoidance is a debt frame of mind.

Amazingly, the reverse is also true.  Taking “big” problems/challenges/tasks, and plugging away at them dutifully without resistance or avoidance, makes them smaller!  If you just focus on getting a little better every day, all of a sudden you have compounding results.   A little better every day is a capital frame of mind.

Don’t avoid. Rip off the band-aid.  Take the medicine.  Increase your throughput.  Make today a little bit better.  It will feel so good.


  • jason wright

    this is one for all of us. we know it so well, and that’s reassuring, that it’s not just “me”. those internal tussles we each of us have. it’s funny being human. we’re so flawed.

  • Oh my god!! You explained very deeply in few words. If people will start believing as you explained I damn sure big problems will be small definitely..