Inconvenienced, So?

2084496457_ae3580dfdd_m“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 inconvenience.” ~ Robert Fulghum

A friend shared today that McDonald’s intends to “allure a new generation of teens and 20-somethings currently obsessed with Chipotle burritos and salad bowls with the company’s affordable coffee, new lower-calorie menu, and convenience check-out changes.” And I found myself wondering… they still don’t get it.

Yet convenience sells. People love easy. And comfortable. Can you imagine trying to sell something that inconvenienced people? Even if the benefits of that inconvenience were guaranteed? Why do you think the majority of people don’t follow through with their exercise program? It’s inconvenient.

What effect will all this efficiency, speed, ease, comfort and convenience have on us as a collective people over the long-term? How will it affect our ability to deal with real adversity and problems? How can we become a powerful, adaptable and resilient species when our default setting is locked on easy?

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When we consider convenient versus inconvenient, some minds might conjure:

  • Driving when you could take a bus, train, bicycle or walk
  • Voluntarily recycling
  • Ending difficult relationships
  • Being selfish contrasted with giving freely
  • Rejecting life-giving organs from random/unknown donors
  • Choosing fast food rather than healthy/nutritious choices
  • Coping with last minute venue changes
  • Lying versus telling the truth

Sometimes we make plans and find them thwarted at every turn. We ride against the wind for a while, and then we complain and look around for someone to blame. Being inconvenienced is about how we deal with, embrace, and learn from things we can’t control; those outside forces that often blind side and force us to change. It also factors into how we handle stressful situations.

3125636743_01c7fe348b_mLife happens because it is existing. Just as our cells divide without our influence, so to do circumstances that inconvenience. Inconvenience has no motivation to know you or influence you in any way. It simply is. And when it presents, you can address it in many ways. Here are three for your consideration:

  1. Avoid always doing “me” things. These are activities that people desire to do on their spare time by themselves; sleeping in later, taking a walk by themselves, or reading a book in a quiet place. Instead, agree to an outing with friends even if it inconveniences you. Your time and company might just be what someone needs.
  2. In a similar vein, experience an Inconvenience Yourself Day. If you have to put someone else before you, how did that make you feel? Were you satisfied or unhappy with the result? Try to adapt and practice this often and see if it comes back to you.
  3. When inconvenience strikes, the behavior of others is a tempting target for resentment. One’s annoyance seems justified and self-absolving. Refusing to understand and own your reaction to being inconvenienced is simply shirking a personal responsibility. Why not simply chill and reflect on what just happened?

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78 thoughts on “Inconvenienced, So?

      • I know. No onw thinks of me and my short attention span. And don’t even think of using big words! On a side note, one of your readers used my comment on one of my own posts! I certainly was delighted to have my own sarcasm used against me…brought a tear to my eye and a sniffle in my nose.

  1. When I was 18 this man who was dying of cancer came and spoke to “us”. He said that before he got cancer, if he got a puncture he would get out and kick the tire. Now he just gets out and changes the tire. A great posting, Eric. Thanks.

  2. How convenient of you to post this after I expressed such frustration regarding being inconvenienced yesterday….. I’m starting to think you have a window in to my life! πŸ˜‰ Great post.

  3. So absolutely true. I can say that, while not perfect at the inconvenience game, I have a much better handle on it. There are times when I am more tired or easily irritated and it becomes more difficult to “go with the flow” but the funny thing is, the more my entourage (read: my family) is freaking out about an inconvenience, the more I go into Zen mode and try to make them see they are wasting so much energy!

    We had a very trying return from a cruise once and ended up being bumped from one plane to another, staying overnight in a hotel, renting a car to drive the rest of the way home in a snowstorm, etc. It was inconvenience after inconvenience. Now it’s a great story!

    • I trust and hope your family appreciate their Zen-like wife/mother. Yours is a reaction and state to which many aspire! (Or ought to πŸ™‚ ) Funny how trying matters from the past can later be seen as both great stories and retrospective lessons. Thanks for sharing your spot-on views, Dale.

  4. I’ve often found when I’m “incovenienced”, I benefit as much as the other person. During the first moments of aggravation, I refocus knowing I am exactly where the universe intends for me to be…I don’t need to know why.

  5. “What effect will all this efficiency, speed, ease, comfort and convenience have on us as a collective people over the long-term? How will it affect our ability to deal with real adversity and problems?”

    I think this is having a profound effect in the dimension of relational skills. It seems people are becoming more and more unable to deal with relational conflict. One of the very sad things for me is that the whole art of parenting is becoming an inconvenience and you begin to wonder who is the child and who is the parent. Good post Eric Thank you.

    • We’re of like, concerned mind, Don. And parenting is but one area in which inconvenience is abandoned with uncaring ease. I see it increasingly in/with animal/pet abandonment. I guess we’ll just have to put our noses in front of our digital devices and hope someone texts us a solution. (Said derisively.)

    • I have not seen “Wall-E,” Barbara, yet I remembering a sibling highly recommending it when it came to theaters. With your subsequent prompt, it’ll have to go on my leisure, PC streaming list. πŸ™‚ Thanks for surfacing it!

  6. Great post and profound, thought provoking ideas. I always tell myself it is arrogance that leaves me inconvenienced and this helps me focus towards acceptance and seeking solutions while being as kind and gentle as I can. But your idea is very interesting indeed! Practise being inconvenienced… Love it πŸ™‚

    • An interesting perspective, yours… “I always tell myself it is arrogance that leaves me inconvenienced…” This I concur with and believe to be significant. Thanks for sharing and enlightening others with this view!

  7. Love this Eric! I especially am pleased to see so many “likes” of the post.

    I drive slow to save gas. Yes, I et up a whole 10 minutes earlier in order to do this. People driving behind me will probably agree that they are inconvenienced. I do feel bad about this, because my commute is on narrower rural roads, but I hate wasting the gas, wearing out the breaks, etc.

    When I am inconvenienced, I often ask myself why I needed the inconvenience and look for something ordinary or extraordinary and try to see the wonder and beauty in that.

    Debra

    • A simple, sensible, and thoughtful view on what one can do when they realize they are inconvenienced, Debra. And embedded in your reply… the wisdom of driving slow. Conservation — what a novel concept! πŸ™‚ Here’s to more of us seeing the wonder and beauty in what we encounter and experience, even if at the time it seems unworthy of reflection.

    • Always, “what is the lesson here?” Yet how often do people not create the time to yield worthwhile answers to such a simple question? If we knew how inconvenience correlates to patience and self-control, I suspect many more of us would heed being inconvenienced. Appreciate your thoughtful addition here.

  8. Hi Eric,

    We all love comfort and avoid being inconvenienced yet we have to face it in various forms and shapes…who likes to get stuck in traffic? or spend hours waiting for a delayed flight, as the picture demonstrates so clearly!? But some images do come to my mind who put themselves in similar situations. What about those soldiers who spend hours away from the love and comfort of their homes? Then there are people who protest for their legitimate rights. And on the flip side what about those who blindly agree to follow their extremist leaders?

    Inconvenience is a natural teacher, the values it imparts are invaluable and eternal! Whether we choose it or reject it, it touches each one of us.

    • I suspect we may be of different interpretations here, Balroop. In my mind, the soldiers, protesters, and people who “blindly agree to follow their extremist leaders” are making a choice to act as they do. While outcomes of their actions may be inconvenience, it was they who consciously chose to place themselves in their respective situations. Yes/no?

      I agree with you in that inconvenience serves to touch and teach us. And it is in/through those experiences that we become both more self-aware and grow.

  9. It seems to me that the biggest inconvenience is for someone to pay attention and slow down. Mindfulness and meditation is always an inconvenience when we are busy doing things and focusing on achieving, balancing stuff and the external world and its expectations. We skip ahead and miss the whole point.
    The learning is in the moment … Especially when we are inconvenienced.
    Great post Eric!

    • Yes, indeed, Val. Such an inconvenience to pay attention and slow down. Let’s just get to or through whatever it is, as fast as we can. That way we won’t have to reflect on any of it.

      Your poignant perspectives align nicely with others who have thoughtfully shared comments. Thanks for creating time to add yours!

  10. This is a great way to look at inconveniences; a chance to learn and grow ~ an opportunity. Very wise words you write: it is very convenient to take something invaluable from inconvenience.

    • I had to read your closing thought twice. It initially read a bit of a tongue twister to me. πŸ™‚ Having fully considered “It is very convenient to take something invaluable from inconvenience,” I acknowledge and thank you for crafting wise words (returned).

  11. I like many of the points you raise – and would like to just humbly add one small comment – regarding this line
    “How will it affect our ability to deal with real adversity and problems?”
    well I think a part of this is can be seen right now – and we can say “how IS this impacting our abilities currently” because I think this is why so many folks are on long-term prescriptions -or just struggling with not having contentment in their lives – they lack wisdom – and many have never been taught this or that about perspective – and well, many just need to chew on meaty posts like this – πŸ™‚

    • To your appreciated ‘tense’ addition, I agree. The matter and related opportunities have been, presently are, and will be. I believe some of us are simply becoming more aware of events and how we respond to them, as well as becoming more vocal (in listening forums) about what we can do differently — with heightened awareness. Feel free to add to the conversation any time. And thanks for the “meaty” reference. πŸ™‚

    • This comment ended up in the spam filter/folder. I have no idea why as all of your previous, kind comments have posted fine. I obviously don’t check/clear spam regularly and thus, apologize for this delayed reply.

      Your award nomination is thoughtful as is you appreciated comment about the blog’s messages. I try. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, Awakening to Awareness is an ‘award free’ blog. I have a note to this effect on the home page/archives so it likely went unseen.

      Thanks for your kindness, Harsh, and for your the words of wisdom and perspectives in your posts.

  12. This reminds me of a word and what it really means – responsibility. Most people refer to this word as things they have to do, roles they have to adopt, fronts that they need to put up in order to conform with expectations. Let’s flip that definition on its head and look at what responsibility really means: response-ability

    Responsibility is ultimately our innate and unique abilities as human beings to choose how we respond to any situation. We can choose to follow through with the status quo, or we can choose to break out of the rut dictated by society and do what our heart is calling us to do. We can resent inconvenience, or we can embrace it. I have as much difficulty as anyone in “always” embracing inconvenience and the unexpected. But, when I do, I find an empowering resilience awaken within me.

    These are some brilliant insights, Eric! Thank you for sharing them with us in such a clear, concise, convincing, and motivating way πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and appreciated input, Dave. Our (including others who have shared) perspectives are essentially on the same page. We can choose different words and phrases to communicate views and related opportunities, but that’s just a bit of semantics. What matters is akin introspection. In my mind, our collective challenge is to awaken others to viewing events (and inconvenience) constructively so we can embrace it “always.”

      Appreciate your kind acknowledgment of the post and its intended message.

  13. The idea of creating “intentional inconvenience” reminds me of a joke:

    Q. What’s the best thing about beating your head against a brick wall?
    A. It feels so good when you stop. πŸ˜›

  14. Good way to remind us of our own perspective may clash with the reality of life. Inconveniences are just that. This did get me chuckling at the different varieties of small problems we may magnify at the time, but look back in laughter. Smiles sent your way, Eric!

  15. Such a great post, Eric. Nowadays everything has to be fast, cost efficient and soulless. From the food we eat, to the attention we give others. That’s what this infinite growth economic model forces on everyone. Optimize everything, optimize everyone, streamline all processes – from personal relationships to everything else in between. I really like your suggestion of having inconvenienced days and will be pushing for a couple such days per week here at home.

    On a side note, Eric. I know you don’t do the award scene but I could not resist mentioning you and your blog as one of my favorites in the category of Very inspiring blog. I find your posts incredibly thought provoking and it’s always a great pleasure to read your blog.

    • Preach it, Andre. You are spot on! Appreciate your choosing to play with the ‘Inconvenience Yourself Day’ concept. I did it myself today and it was truly an awareness experience.

      You’ve been blogging a long time (as evidenced by where your Gravatar shows among followers). Has anyone ever told you that your written expression is impressive? Simply reading your comments is enjoyable. Call me a word geek, I guess.

      To your Very Inspiring Blog award nomination, thank you! I appreciate your recognizing that my blog is award free. Still, your acknowledgment and kind words are humbling. And while I don’t do the award “scene” you took the time to cite my blog so in return, I’ll answer your 11 questions:

      1. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
      2. A global travel guide
      3. Complete physical health
      4. The shortage of compassionate action
      5. WordPress
      6. Home
      7. A soulful trumpet. No 😦
      8. Definitely, a few best friends
      9. Hiking, backpacking, camping
      10. Dogs, always dogs. I have two now
      11. It depends on the image but I’m growing more partial to B&W

      • Oh, thank you Eric, indeed it’s been a while since I started blogging but no one ever defined my writing expression as impressive. I’m really flattered! English is not my native language but I guess the blogging practice helps.

        Thank you so much for answering the eleven questions. It’s great to learn a bit more about my fellow bloggers and it’s amazing to see how much I share in common with some of my favorite bloggers. Some of your answers are so close to what I’d answer. Complete health, issue of compassion shortage as being behind most of the world’s problems, wordpress, a few best friends, camping, having pets, B&W photography. With some people it’s easy to see you could chat to them for hours while sharing so many of the same values and concerns.

        Thank you again for your reply and have a wonderful Sunday!

  16. Please don’t get me started on efforts for traffic calming in residential areas…the naysayers are just thinking of themselves.

    One symptom of inconvenience is failure to listen others deeply and for long time.

  17. I hate to say it .. I’ve been a resident to many places and countries, but in my observation, Americans are the whinniest about little inconveniences. It bothers me really. If only they knew what other parts of the world do to sustain life, to acquire basic needs. Say water, they have to get it steps away from the source and wait in line for hours just to have it. I hate to be hateful about it. But seriously, some people are just ungrateful even if they have so much, they just don’t realize it.

    • You speak your mind, Rommel, well. I too have traveled much of the globe. There often seem to be extremes — people are either spoiled or have little, yet both constituencies whine. I don’t find your observation and comment hateful at all. It’s more a clear statement of a current state. Bravo for expressing yourself.

  18. It is a pretty scary prospect. It really came home to me when I was shopping at Macy’s one day and mentioned that I never get coupons in the mail and that yes, I wanted a paper receipt. The young girl was as polite as possible when she said that, basically, the younger generation of company exacutivesw as waiting for all of us to “die off” so the entire world could go completely electronic. NO one thinks of the possibility of losing everything they know, need or depend on with the flick of a switch. And they are in no way equipped to go nack and do anything the “hard” way.

  19. Ah, the younger generation. They too will learn, adapt, and create solutions that work for them — just as pror generations have. What they often do not realize is that predecessor generations built the current economy and it was built measurably, without digital omnipresence. πŸ™‚ They may figure it out; they may not. In the meantime, excuse us for inconveniencing them.

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