Third Eye

Making Molehills Out of Mountains

Common examples might include stressing over a meeting with your boss, anticipating a contentious conversation, or the dreaded public speaking. You may likely be guilty of making mountains out of molehills, as I am on more occasions than I’d care to admit.

What if… we could reframe, flip the saying around, and make a molehill out of a mountain instead? How fun would that be? Or maybe even helpful? Given that I’ve had several recent opportunities to reduce my mountains to molehills, I’d like to share three ways that might help you with yours. There is some math involved, but don’t worry, it’s easy.

Here we go:

1. Calculate the percentage of time the “mountain” will take over the course of your life and give it the appropriate amount of energy and attention. I like to break it down into hours.

Here’s how (using 2021 US data):

The average lifespan is nearly 77 years (slightly higher for women). That works out to approximately 674,520 hours (77 years x 365 days X 24 hours).

Using 674,520 hours as your lifespan, calculate the percentage of time the “mountain” will take in your life. Hence, a 2 hour “mountain” meeting would end up being 0.0003% of your life (2 / 674,520 hours). Pretty small, right? You can do this with just about anything to help change your perspective and reduce your mountains into molehills.

2. When facing what may feel like a “mountain,” consider shifting into observation or “Movie Director” mode. While I’m all about being as fully present as I can be, sometimes pulling back and observing a situation as if I am watching a movie can be helpful. Becoming observational can assist with self-regulation and maintaining composure, especially when emotions run high. Observation or “Movie Director” mode has helped me to remain less reactive and more thoughtfully responsive to possible ego triggers in stressful or worrisome situations.

3. Look for the gold nuggets on your mountain! Sometimes it can be helpful to look for the gold nuggets, or positive aspects of a situation or interaction. When facing a proverbial mountain, I try to focus on the positive takeaways or good things that I can experience rather than the negative. In addition to finding gold nuggets, a “stretch goal” might be to give away as many gold nuggets of kindness as you can. I am always surprised at how impactful that can be in transforming a mountain into a molehill.

These are but three examples of how to turn mountains into molehills. I hope they are helpful. Please feel free to share your ideas and methods for making molehills out of mountains.

Wishing you a peace-and-happiness-filled week!

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