Day 56. How I let art supplies occupy too much of my time and what I did about it….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 56.  Friday, May 20, 2011
Last night I went to the store to buy some last minute supplies for the art classes I am taking in California.  The supply list indicated it would be helpful, though not required, to bring my own watercolor pencils.  To me this means I will have to share with people and I won’t enjoy that process so I better just bring my own supplies.

I browsed the very colorful and enchanting art aisle—full of colored pencils, chalk, pastels and various other intriguing artists’ tools.  I say I browsed.  I salivated.  I dreamed.  I stood in awe of the potential these tools could mean in the right hands.  Not that my hands are the right hands.  But I can dream. 

Reality came when I looked at the prices for all these artists’ tools.  I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on colored pencils.  But gosh, these metallic colored pencils are mesmerizing.  Oh if only I could have them.  I had a coupon.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to make the plunge.  I wanted those pencils.  I wanted them bad.  I just couldn’t justify it.  After probably 20 minutes of browsing I settled on an inexpensive set of 8 colored pencils. 

I went to pay but there was a long line of customers and only one cashier.  I decided it wasn’t worth the wait for the dumb pencils I had to “settle” for.  So I left.

This morning all I could think about were the watercolor pencils and the potential that could be unleashed in this art class I am taking.  I decided to go back to the store and purchase a set—any set—just so that I’d have something for this class.

While driving I grumbled thinking this is worse than the red pen incident last week.  I decided it was easy to justify the investment in these artists’ tools as R&D.  Given my past experience with using what has been invested (ie. A Dale Carnegie training course)—stupid pencils were a drop in the bucket.  Besides… I have some new product ideas that these pencils will help me to produce and hopefully help the company make money. 

I walked boldly to the aisle where the coveted art supplies are kept.  I did not hesitate. I grabbed two different sets of pencils and walked to Liz, the cashier without a second thought.

I handed Liz my tattered coupon I’ve been holding on to along with the company credit card.  She rang me up—I was pleased with my savings and told her so.  But then she told me today was buy one get one free day on colored pencils.  My order would be even cheaper.  I thanked Liz and went merrily on my way.

The Dale Carnegie principles I should have used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The Dale Carnegie principle I did use is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.  

When I think about the time I wasted thinking and worrying about the silly watercolor pencils I am embarrassed.  It wasn’t long ago the company told me I could purchase $150 markers on the company credit card.  So frankly, $20 watercolor pencils were not going to break the bank.

Also, be thankful for the unexpected courtesies of strangers.  In my case, the cashier, Liz, found a way to save me more money when frankly, she was not obligated to do so.  I was thrilled and I let her know it. 

So remember, there are plenty of instances when petty worries and stress come your way but you have the opportunity to turn them around.  When you do this—you’ll discover power in the ability to control your emotions and the circumstances you face.  And who knows, with a little practice, these trifles will become fewer and far between.

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