The Blessing of Your Inconveniences

One of life’s best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.

~ Robert Fulghum

Last month, I was living in what I referred to at the time as computer hell. Between changing Internet service providers (a bundle package including Internet, TV, and phones…oyy), moving my website to a new server, email data base malfunctions, connectivity challenges between my printers, phones, and televisions, and downloading the latest software to update the operating system on my computers, I spent more time talking to tech people than anyone else. Let’s just say, it was a very challenging month dealing with one problem after another, yada, yada, yada…

Then I ran across the aforementioned quote by Robert Fulghum, and it sort of sucked the wind out of my sails, and my iceberg of problems instantly dissolved into a puddle of minor inconveniences. The fact that we have so many wonderful things in our lives to be inconvenienced by is a true gift: computers, phones, cars, jobs, home maintenance, and repairs. We could also include those minor aches and pains and even many of the challenges in our relationships with friends and family. In other words, unless you are on your way to the hospital, or living on the street and have nothing to eat, a detour on the road called “your daily life” is not so much a problem—it’s an inconvenience.

Remembering how blessed we are by our “inconveniences” seems to be a lesson that most of us, including me, need to be reminded of on a regular basis. Everything is relative to our current experience and our perspective of it.

The differences between our problems and our inconveniences become even more obvious when we consider the incomprehensible pain and suffering of the men, women, and children all around the world who are caught in the middle of warring nations, or famine and lack of clean water. I don’t bring all of this up to cause us to feel guilty about how blessed our lives may be—I bring it up as a reminder that perspective is everything. As Robert Fulghum reminds us, one needs to learn the difference between an inconvenience and a problem, because in so doing life not only becomes more manageable, it becomes more meaningful.

If you are so inclined, the question I would invite you to do some self-inquiry around today is this: Where in your life might you have mistaken an inconvenience as a problem?

Taking time to put things in proper perspective is a wise thing to do. The practice is to learn the difference between your inconveniences and problems, and appreciate them: just consider how blessed you are to have so many inconveniences and so few problems. If you do, when a true problem does show up, you will be able to recognize it and mindfully respond to it rather than mindlessly react to it.

Bless your inconveniences today, my friends.


Dennis Merritt Jones
Dennis Merritt Jones
Throughout his lifetime, author, speaker, and mentor, Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones has been on a quest to inspire and lift people to a higher expression of life. His vision is to guide people to their purpose, knowing that when one fully awakens to who they are and why they are on the planet, they share their gift to humankind and create an enriching life for themselves and the world around them. Dennis is the award-winning author of six books—three of which are recipients of a Nautilus Gold or Silver award—and hundreds of articles and blogs. He has written and released the following books: The Art of Abundance - Ten Rules for a Prosperous Life; The Art of Being - 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life; The Art of Uncertainty - How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It; Your ReDefining Moments - Becoming Who You Were Born to Be; Encouraging Words - Proof That Who You Are Matters, and; How to Speak Science of Mind. Dennis believes we each have the capacity and, ultimately, the responsibility to contribute something positive to this world, leaving it a better place than it was when we arrived. Reflected in his writings and presentations, his teachings promote a contemporary life-affirming, spiritually logical, and positive outlook on life. As a keynote speaker, Dennis is equally comfortable addressing an audience seeking spiritual inspiration or those seeking a purely secular motivational message. He uses his understanding of universal principles to draw upon wisdom from both eastern and western philosophies. As a mentor, Dennis works with individuals and non-profits to assist them in clarifying their vision and mission. He believes that there is a deeper consciousness of unity, cooperation, and reverence rising in humankind where the value of all life, regardless of ethnicity, geography, culture, or sexual orientation, is sacred. He believes this consciousness of unity, cooperation, and reverence for life and the planet will be one of the most significant influences upon society as we approach the challenges of 21st-century living.

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