Peaceful Success

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

3 June 2021

In 1997, Richard Carlson, Ph.D., published a book titled, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and it’s all small stuff. As he explains in the introduction to the book, he received this advice via email during a crisis he incorrectly perceived he was having. The line stuck with him and he wrote a lovely guide on how to live your life in this manner.

Type A

I’ve been categorized as having a Type A personality. I love organization (you should check out my Tupperware cabinet.) Time management is sort of an innate skill of mine. I’m not sure if it was something I was born with, but it’s something I happily possess today. I have a schedule when my kids are home – there is time allotted for the day’s tasks. And while being unflappably Type A has served me well in the past thirty-something years, I’m ready to learn a different way.


Maybe I’m embracing the Type B inside of me. I still love to manage my time wisely, but I’m learning to let go of being so rigid. I’m becoming a hybrid. Who says I can’t love organizing my Tupperware cabinet, yet allow my children’s playroom to regularly be a complete disaster? Why can’t I create a schedule and be easy-going and flexible when plans are derailed?

Which brings me to Chapter 3 of Carlson’s book titled Let Go of the Idea that Gentle, Relaxed People Can’t Be Superachievers. He points out, “When you have what you want (inner peace), you are less distracted by your wants, needs, desires, and concerns. It’s thus easier to concentrate, focus achieve your goals, and give back to others.” Maybe my inner peace involves some structure, but also the ability to accept the change that may occur.

I always thought that to thrive, I had to keep myself on a strict schedule. There was a right way to do things and I had to be rigid if I wanted to succeed. I had to control my environment and remain steadfast. But I’m learning that’s not the case. I’m learning I can allow myself to relax.

I can be gentle with myself … and still succeed.