If you had a flat tire today driving on the way to work, and someone asked you at dinner later on "How was your day?" you would probably tell him or her about the flat tire, wouldn't you?
Anyone who has ever had a flat tire can tell you it's not much fun, so your story might sound something like this, "Uugh. I had this flat tire today and it was horrible. I got stranded on the side of the road in the pouring rain for two hours. Then I had to pay to get my car towed! And now I have to replace all my other tires and the guy is trying to take me for all my money! Uugh!"
Yes, if you had a flat tire today and someone asked you how your day was, you would likely include that as part of your story because the flat tire (challenge) is a major event in relation to today.
However, let's pretend you were on your deathbed 60 years from now and someone asked you "How do you feel about your life?" Do you think you'd say something like "Well, I had a pretty good life... all except for that day I had that flat tire"?
No! You wouldn't say that. You probably wouldn't even remember the flat tire! That is because a flat tire is a small event in relation to your lifespan.
The big realization is that:
A challenge in respect to today is a big problem.
But a challenge in respect to our lifespan is a small problem.
And a challenge in respect to eternity is no problem.
Truly, what could happen (good or bad) today that would really dramatically affect the course of the world's events thousands of years from now? There would be only a very few small things.
Why then do I get stressed over every little issue? It's crazy. When I expand my perspective appropriately I can quickly see how silly it is to let insignificant things create substantial stress in my life.
So what is the truth about overcoming stress? Simple...
Whenever I am overwhelmed, upset, perturbed or pissed off I ask myself this question: "Is this challenge of eternal significance?"
Just asking the question alone automatically causes me to immediately relax. My problems start to disappear the moment I start to expand my perspective. If you have the discipline to ask yourself that question in those moments of frustration, you will always find that greater peace lies in longer-term perspective.
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