News or Drama

I suppose it's as old as "he said, she said." Two people who have differing versions of the same incident.

Which of the following sentences is true:

  1. We heard Chris Rock make fun of Will Smith's wife.

  2. Jada Pinkett Smith has short hair (due to alopecia).

  3. We saw her cringe at the joke.

  4. We witnessed Will Smith slap Chris Rock.

  5. We noticed the sound was muted but you could see Smith saying something to Rock.

  6. Will Smith received an Oscar award.

Of course, they are all true... but what drama has ensued!

The word “drama” has taken on an interesting meaning in recent years, beyond the performance form of fiction it’s traditionally signified: “making a big deal over something unnecessarily”.

It’s about making a big production of something, when you could simply get on with things.

Interestingly, the word “drama” comes from the Greek word for “action”, which in itself derives from a word that means “to do”. And doing turns out to be the answer for unnecessary “drama”.

What’s the problem with drama? For one, as the urban definition implies, it’s unnecessary. There’s no need for histrionics when you can talk about and deal with things calmly. There’s no need to get overly emotional when you can breathe, release the tension and focus on being happy, now, in the moment.

It complicates things, makes a big deal of little things and ignores the little things that should be a big deal: simple pleasures and gratitude and the wonderful existence of life.

You see, drama makes life harder. If you lose your job, you can go into a depression (perhaps understandably) and lose your confidence and have a hard time finding a job again — often because of the depression. But if instead you stay calm, perhaps take the view that this is a fresh start and a way to pursue the dream you’ve never had the time to pursue, looking at it as a way to learn new skills and reinvent yourself … things won’t be so hard.

How to Stop the Drama

So when you feel yourself getting worked up about something -- a coworker not pulling his weight, a spouse who isn’t living up to your expectations, a daughter who isn’t doing as well at school as you’d like -- stop the drama.

Breathe. Let the breath go. Breathe in again -- consciously taking in the peace of the world. Breathe out, and let the tensions and frustrations flow out of you. Repeat until the drama is gone. Notice- it's the drama that leaves, not the facts. You can deal with the facts- what you don't need is the collateral hysteria.

When we get worked up about something, it’s usually about what has already happened (in the past) or something that might happen (in the future). Forget about all that right now (you can reflect on it later, when you’re calmer and dispassionate). Right now, focus on what you’re doing. This might be sitting in front of a computer, reading. Or walking. Or drinking a glass of water. Washing dishes. Driving. That’s what you’re doing, in the moment; this moment now. That’s all you need to be aware of. As you feel your mind tending back to the past or the future, return it gently to what you’re doing right now. It takes practice.

Simply get on with it. Do what you need to do to calmly address the situation. Deal with it, in as simple a manner as possible. Forget all the complications -- just do.

Overwhelmed with too much to do? Breathe, focus on what you are doing right now, and just focus on getting that done.

Tired of your job? Breathe, focus on now, and do what needs to be done to deal with it.

Annoyed by someone? Let it go. Focus on what you’re doing, right now. And just get on with it.

If you start getting worked up again, start back at the first step. If not, I won't slap you, but I will coach you back to "just the facts, ma'am."