Has it ever happened to you that, while you were worrying about a problem or a challenge that seemed unsurmountable, suddenly something else happened that completely changed your perspective and made you realize it wasn´t that bad?

Sometimes I remember the beginning of the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, a book of mostly nonsensical humour that I read many years ago (thanks Hernán for lending it to me), and of which I don´t remember much, except for a couple of details I thought were full of genius geeky wisdom🙂

The story begins with the main character arriving one day at his house, only to discover it´s about to be demolished to build a new highway. Apparently, a notice sign had been put up a few weeks before, but he hadn´t seen it, and as you can imagine, he gets very nervous; he starts shouting at the construction workers, trying with all his might to save his house from getting destroyed... But as it turns out, it doesn´t really matter, because then he finds out that the whole planet Earth is about to be destroyed, in order to build a new intergalactic highway (and there was also a warning sign that nobody had read!).

How often do we get obsessed with a specific thing as if our life depended on it, and it doesn´t occur to us to take a step back, change the way we look at it, and that way get to see the big picture?

Close up of a glass ball on a wooden log, showing a rocky landscape that we can also see out of focus in the background

Another good example, this time from real life, was the beginning of the pandemic: many of our worries from before March 2020 suddenly disappeared, as we realized that what was truly important at that time was being healthy and safe, and everything else was an additional luxury.

And I´m not saying that our previous worries were not valid, on the contrary: every single thing that happens to us generates certain thoughts and feelings, sometimes alongside physical symptoms, that we should process; we should pay attention and give them their space, because they´re here to tell us something, to deliver a warning, or maybe a teaching.

What I´m saying is that the importance of things is relative, and when we don´t have something big to worry about... Sometimes our tendency is to worry about something small as if it were big.

O a veces estamos tan metidos en la situación concreta que sea que nos cuesta verla con claridad, y como dice el dicho, “los árboles nos impiden ver el bosque”. Es entonces cuando mejor nos viene el buscar otra perspectiva, y hay muchas técnicas que nos pueden ayudar a conseguirlo, tanto en solitario como con ayuda de un amigo, o de un profesional.

Por ejemplo, cuando estemos atascados intentando tomar una decisión porque nos da miedo elegir mal, puede ser útil el recordarnos que, en esta vida, son realmente muy pocas las probabilidades de que una decisión nuestra provoque un daño irreversible e irreparable. La mayoría de las veces, tanto si sale “bien” como si sale “mal”, las consecuencias son perfectamente asumibles, así que podemos permitirnos decidir, actuar, y sobre todo aprender de los resultados.

Por cierto, lo de “bien” y “mal” lo pongo entre comillas porque como ya sabemos, todo es relativo… Salvo en the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, where they were able to find the ultimate specific answer to the Big Question on Life, the Universe, and Everything 🙂

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