The Profundity of Everyday Things

A study in reframing and appreciation

Mike Sturm
4 min readMay 10, 2021

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Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash

I worked with this guy, call him Josh (not his real name), for a few years. He was a bit younger than me, and after he had been t at the company for about 2 years, I became his manager. In an effort to get to know him better, as I like to do for my team, I took him to lunch.

Josh had served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, and had been in combat situations on several occasions. He had seen an IUD blow up a truck. He had been part of a firefight with some insurgents who came out of nowhere. He’d been in situations that many of us can only imagine. So I asked him something I’m always curious about.

“Aside from whatever tactical things you had to do in the moment in battle, what else was going through your mind?” I asked him.

He smiled and laughed. “It sounds dumb, but in situations like that, I just wanted to be back at the barracks, complaining about the mattresses and the terrible food. Or back home, swearing at my lawnmower because it won’t start. I appreciated my small problems that had seemed so big at the time.”

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I understood exactly what he meant. When we face really big, out-of-control problems — like the kind that bring us face to face with death — we suddenly…

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Mike Sturm

Creator: https://TheTodaySystem.com — A simpler personal productivity system. Writing about productivity, self-improvement, business, and life.