Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff' by Dr Richard Carlson is my favourite self-help book and I return to it time and time again for inspiration, both in my own life and to share with my clients.
Richard Carlson was an American psychotherapist, author and motivational speaker. He wrote many books, but Don't Sweat the Small Stuff was his best known. It's a book of short essays about all aspects of life and suggestions for dealing with life's ups and downs in a more accepting and calm way. His advice and suggestions fit well with the solution focused approach and I often find myself referring to one or more of his essays during client sessions.
There will always be stuff in your in-tray
The first time I read it, one chapter in particular resonated with my life at the time. The underlying message of the text is that when you die, there will still be things in your in-tray, so stop trying to empty it. In-trays are meant to have things in them. It's a message I needed to hear at the time and it has stayed with me many years later (although I still need reminding occasionally).
The fascinating thing about the book (and others like it) is that each time I read it, I pick up a new insight. Some other aspect of the book seems to coincide with something that is happening at the time and I can use Richard Carlson's wisdom to gain a different perspective. I also realise that I have absorbed previous learnings into my life so those messages have less impact this time around.
This behaviour of re-consuming was studied in 2011 by marketing professors Cristel Antonia Russell and Sidney J. Levy. They were interested in what motivates consumers to 're-consume', eg re-read a book, watch a film multiple times, visit a favourite place. They found, perhaps not unsurprisingly, that consumers gained a better insight into the re-consumed object itself. But they also noticed that consumers gained an enhanced awareness of their own growth through self-reflection of how they responded this time, compared to the previous times they 'consumed' the object. It's as if the book, film or place act as an emotional yardstick.
Do you have a favourite film, book or piece of music that you enjoy re-consuming? If not, I can recommend Richard Carlson's classic.