Be a Better You in 365 Days Challenge – Day 45 What Annoys You?

This is Day 45 of How to Be a Better Person in 365 Days (365 Challenge) October 2011 Challenge. View list of tasks: 365 Challenge Overview

Hi All! Welcome to Day 45 of the 365 Challenge!

Day 45 – Your Annoyances

Today’s task will take about 30 minutes.


Is there anything that’s annoying you at the moment?

What is it?

How do you usually deal with your annoyances?

For most of us, we typically handle our annoyances in the way we’ve been taught – either ignore them, let them out like how we release our stress, talk about them with our friends, or deal with the source of the annoyance directly. And these are all valid, practical methods to deal with them.

However, do you know that our annoyances can be used as a self-reflection tool? They mirror the inner issues we have inside us – issues that have yet to be resolved.

For example, one of my past annoyances is slowness – particularly, people who were slow. Slow in the broadest sense of the word – such as slow in responding, slow in getting things done, slow in walking, etc. I wished that others could be more efficient.

Interestingly, when I reflected that into myself, I realized it was a personal desire to be more efficient. While I’m generally more efficient compared to the norm, I feel that there is always room to become better.

So when I started working on my personal efficiency rather than projecting the desire to other people, I stopped becoming bothered by people whom I previously thought was inefficient, even though they were the exact same people. My lens stopped imposing that thought onto others, because I was taking direct action on the root of the issue.

If you apply this to the different things that bother you, you will immediately gain a whole plethora of insights. Whenever I face annoyances nowadays, I rarely tackle them externally – my first instinct is to look inward and understand what’s causing the feeling.

For those of you new to the concept, it might be tough for you to grasp. However, realize that our perception of the world is linked to ourselves at the end of the day. While we can address our annoyances by eliminating the external source, the relief we get is temporary, because the issue isn’t with the external world, but with ourselves. By understanding the origin of these annoyances (inside us), we can gain more insights about ourselves, and at the same time address the root cause of the issues.

For today’s task, we are going to look into our annoyances.

Your Task: Look Into Your Annoyances

  1. List down one thing that annoys you.
    • It can be of people, of things, of situations, of actions, etc.
    • For example, things that annoy me include: (a) Babies/Children crying (b) Fake people – People who are superficial and not earnest in communication (c) People who don’t respond when I reach out to them.
  2. Write down why it annoys you.
    • For each thing that annoy you, ask yourself: “Why does this annoy/bother me?“. Write down the answer that ensues. Keep asking the same question until you arrive at an a-ha about yourself.
    • For example: babies/children crying:
    • Why does this annoy/bother me?
    • Because it’s so noisy and annoying.
    • Because they disturb me.
    • Because they disturb my peace and quiet.
    • Because I hate how they are crying for help.
    • Because it means they are helpless.
    • Because I hate helpless people.
    • Because helplessness is a sign of weakness.
    • Because I don’t ever want to be in a state of helplessness. It means to be weak, incapable, and not to be good enough.
  3. Reflect them onto yourself.
    • For the revelation you just had about your annoyance, reflect it on yourself. Are there any situations where that applies to you at the moment?
    • For example, when I look at areas where I’m exhibiting signs of helplessness (at the moment of writing), they include:
  1. Not being able to find my accommodation in London yet
  2. Being dependent on current friends to create my social circles in a new city
  3. Needing to be driven around when traveling around places with no public transport as I don’t have a drivers’ licence
  4. Expand my search to the largest room share site in UK – Done (Aug 25)
  5. Reach out to my entire network of friends and acquaintances for contacts in London, vs. depending on current set of friends – Ongoing
  6. Learn driving when I return to Singapore at some point in the future (Update Sep ’11: The need to learn driving dissipated as I moved to Central London, where the public transport is very well networked. I plan to learn driving only when there is a need to in the future – it’d be dependent on the country I settle down in, and whether I need a car to get around.)
  1. Identify your action steps to address #3.
    • For example, the action steps I’m taking to address #3:

Repeat the exercise as many times as you want to other things that annoy you. You will find that every time you do this, you’ll come to a new realization about yourself. The more you do it, the less things in your reality will affect you.

Day 25 Reflection for 365 Challenge

  1. Is there anything you learned today?
  2. If so, what is it? Write it down.

Share Your Answers!

What is something that usually annoys you? Why does it annoy you? What does that reflect about yourself? And what action steps are you going to take to address that?