"I can't believe she hasn't called me back yet." "The construction guy said he'd be here today." "When will these 'terrible twos' end?"
From traffic jams to family squabbles to lines at the grocery checkout, we're faced with curveballs every day. It's not what happens to us in our lives; it's how we deal with what happens to us that determines how well things flow for us.
Does your blood boil when somebody snatches that parking spot out from under you? Or you get stuck with the carpool again?
Everyday stressors like these - and our reactions to them - actually hold the key to our peace of mind.
I call this "center-of-the-universe thinking." You know the feeling. You're so wrapped up in your own agenda that it's hard to be objective when things don't turn out the way you thought.
You've already planned out the next step and the next one - but you need her to call you back. And then the assumptions start to pile on. "Why hasn't she called back?" "What's taking her so long?" "Should I call her again?"
Then you're faced with a dilemma of how persistent to be. This is what I call the "prunes theory." Is three enough? Six too many? I have this theory that most things in life come down to prunes.
Whenever I've allowed myself to go over the top in one of these scenarios, I often find there was a good reason for a delay or a fork in the road. The person didn't get the message, or they were out sick or on vacation. Once I realize I wasn't deliberately wronged, I feel sheepish.
And then there are times when people just aren't responsive. Sometimes they need a reminder and a nudge. You have to weigh the pros and cons of being too laid back or too pushy. Back to the prunes theory.
According to writer Steven Lane Taylor, author of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat: A Guide for Living in the Divine Flow," we often get into trouble when: