Knowing that the chances are approximately 1 in 463 that I will get a cart that works with me instead of against me, I just take the first cart and go with it. Less than six feet later, it is clear I picked wrong. I consider turning around and taking the cart back. But for unknown reasons, I keep going. As I attempt to push the cart in a straight line, just straight, I start to get frustrated. My thoughts are something like this, “Stupid cart. Just move. Just go. Please!! I hate these carts.”
It’s important to note that I am still not more than four aisles into the store. Turning around and going back would in no way be hard, at all. Once again, I consider getting another cart. Once again, I reject the idea and keep moving. Fast forward about five minutes. Now, I’m just plain angry. My thoughts are more like: “Every single time. Every single time I get an impossible cart, and I have to struggle and struggle just to get around, and what makes it so hard anyway, and why don’t they fix them, and why in the world can’t they make a cart that will work, and on and on and on.”
At this point, it occurs to me that maybe I’m tired and hungry and need to calm down. It is after all, just a shopping cart that requires a little extra muscle. Is this really something I want to spend my emotional energy on? Am I actually throwing a little fit in the middle of a grocery store, albeit, in my head? And, why in the world, did I not just simply take the cart back and get another one?
And then, it became a challenge. I continue with the cart, but mostly because I was kinda intrigued. Why didn’t I take it back, really? As I pushed and shopped, I also pondered. Which quickly led me past the cart question and to a more serious question: why do I repeatedly do things the hard way and then get angry because it was hard?
It’s not like I didn’t know it would be hard. I know that pushing around a messed up cart will make shopping more difficult. I know that completing small pieces of a project in a timely manner is easier than waiting until the last minute and trying to cram it together. I know that exercising in the morning is easier than waiting until the day starts and plans get in the way. I know that putting things away after I use them is easier than clearing piles later. I know that one way is easy and one way is hard.
It’s not like being angry about it will make it any easier. In fact, it makes it much more difficult. When I’m angry and stressed, my heart races faster, my muscles clench, and my brain doesn’t work as well. Not to mention that those around me suffer due to my foul mood.
There has to be a better plan. Clearly, the best plan would be to make wiser choices. Take the cart back. Put things away. Exercise early. Etc., etc., etc. Just get it done. I realize that making the best requires discipline, and follow through, and work. I am also aware that it makes life easier.
But here’s the big take away from my cart story, once you choose the more difficult path, accept it and don’t let it be an excuse to be angry. Just take it for what it is and move on. Let it motivate you to make the better choice next time. Let it be a lesson for those around you. Do your best to turn it in to something good. Your family, your friends, your co-workers, and random strangers at the grocery store will be super grateful!