“Hot Potato” – Why We Feel Overwhelmed
It occurs to me that life is like a giant game of hot potato. The only thing is, the game is rigged.
Every single day we have the opportunity to start fresh, and yet, I think we all know what’s coming, and I’d argue that many of us bring it on ourselves. We just can’t wait to get out of bed and check our phones and sure enough, here they come, the emails, the phone calls, the text messages, the social media notifications [little potatoes fly into the screen], and we just, we can’t stop ourselves. We’ve got these hot potatoes. We’ve gotta deal with ’em right away and hand ’em all right back out and feel like we’re ahead of the game. But we know what’s coming next [Kevin’s hit by a number of potatoes].
But these [showing little potatoes], these are the little potatoes, always hot and always in play, so we do our best to be able to just deal with them on an ongoing basis while at the same time balancing our jobs and our families and hopefully ourselves, so whether we’ve got these things on the go or not, well, now, here come the other ones!
All of the sudden the car breaks down [big potato flies in] or there’s a service recall, or you get a phone call that now your kid’s in trouble at school, or all of a sudden you get dumped a new procedure at work and now we’ve got to start to deal with these ones (the potatoes).
If you knew the game was rigged, would you play it differently?
No wonder we’re stressed out. I think this is one of the reasons why I used to drink beer fairly regularly. I was probably telling myself that it was helping me forget all these potatoes, but you can dumb yourself down if you want, they still are piling up. So, what do we do about it?
Well, like so many other things, I think it probably comes down to awareness of how many of these things that we actually want to have in the game. Do we really need to catch and then toss back out all of them?
Some potatoes, you can probably just let go altogether [Kevin dodges a potato].
Some, you can stop from boomeranging back on you by not even tossing them into the game in the first place [Kevin drops a potato].
Others, well, they’re just part of life, and some you’re going to want to put in the game, so in addition to the first two things I mentioned, we may have to learn how to do this [Kevin starts juggling potatoes] a little bit better too.
One last thought: Let’s suppose that you knew the game was rigged, that you had to play it, but there was very little to gain by always trying to win it.
If you knew that, would you play the game differently?