Have you been there? You work on your yard all year. You began early in spring with the application of fertilizer, weed killer, and grub worm preventer. You carefully tune your mower to the perfect height. You meticulously care for your yard by adding water, when needed, cutting at just the right time, and searching for those pesky weeds that you immediately eliminate. Now comes fall, that time of year when all your hard work should pay off. October and November should be the most beautiful times of the year for your lawn. Then, then come! Moles! Those tiny rodents that delight in creating underground furrows in your yard. It is amazing how much damage they can do in just one night!
Eliminating moles is an entire science. Courses are taught. You can actually become a certified mole eradication expert. Some believe you must use traps to catch and remove the moles. Others try smoking them out with smoke bombs. Still others swear that you can drive them out using water to flood their furrows. Hardware stores have entire aisles of poisons, deterrents, and gizmos to catch, scare, or fool the moles. In my experience, these tactics might produce sporadic success, but eventually, the moles just leave. In their wake, you experience all-winter anxiety planning ways to restore your now chopped up lawn.
Moles don’t really cause major, permanent damage. But, they irritate and frustrate those that care for their lawns. They are pests, but their damage is not fatal. Life and work can offer their own versions of “moles.” So, today, we look at a few examples and talk about how we might approach their eradication from our own lives. Here are a few “moles” that come to my mind and that we all likely face from time-to-time:
- Feelings of inadequacy (the Doofus Syndrome) – Once in a while, most people get into a cycle when nothing seems to go right. You start feeling like you are jinxed. Your washer dies, then you lose your keys, then you have a fender-bender. You start feeling like you are just incapable of doing anything right. Well, the remedy to this is to know that everything runs in cycles. When things go bad, it seems to hit you more than when things are going well. However, we all also have cycles when it seems that everything is going very well. We just focus more on the bad, than the good. C. S. Lewis once said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” We are not Doofuses. Yes, things might happen, but we have all benefited from the experience we gain from those hardships, even the small ones, that come our way.
- Over commitment (or fatigue) – Yes, we have all been there. We have so many things on our plate that we become so tired that we have difficulty even getting undressed for bed. My wife kids me that I often have to take a nap to have enough energy to make it to the bedroom at night. Most people say “yes” too often. We hate to say “no.” Then, as a result, we rarely have any meaningful down time to recharge our batteries. The best ways to overcome fatigue are: a) begin saying “no” and making time for yourself, b) put our phones and tablets down and get more sleep, and c) delegate – allow or motivate someone else to take some of the burden we currently carry. Of course, these are easier said than done. However, it is important, for our own good, that we do so.
- Frustration that change happens too slowly (impatience) – I have noticed a trend over the last few years of greater impatience. I think some of this might be due to our immediate gratification society. For example, I used to be able to tell my wife almost any “fact” and she believed me. However, now that she has a smartphone with unlimited information at her fingertips immediately, I find that she has become a “fact-checker.” She challenges my claims and I must now be a bit more careful about what I say. This immediate gratification society makes us all more impatient for things to happen. When they don’t, we become frustrated and, potentially worse, cynical or distrustful. Being able to take a few steps back will help keep things in perspective. Realizing that we are running a marathon, not a sprint, can help with that. Sure, I know… easier said than done. But, we need to begin developing the habit of patience. It won’t come simply because we will it. We need to practice and nurture this habit. By becoming aware that things don’t happen quickly and forcing ourselves to generate patience, we might eventually become more so.
- Exasperation that change is happening too fast (you can’t keep up) – Of course, equally “molish” is that change is happening too fast. We feel that we are behind everyone else. Technology is passing us by faster than we can learn it. Or, we can never master one thing before it is replaced with something else. This mole can also drive us to frustration, fatigue, or that helpless/hopeless feeling. Our ability to keep up is often related to how we prioritize the change. Trying to become an expert in everything will leave us fatigued. Determining what is essential versus what is nice can help us avoid overload.
- Disappointment (things aren’t turning out like you had hoped) – I have talked to numerous individuals that simply feel their lives are disappointing. The plans they made just didn’t work out. Others made decisions that we urged against. Situations out of our control impacted our lives in negative ways. Disappointment can weigh an individual down. What I have found when I begin falling into this “mole hole” is to focus instead on the blessing I do have. I consider all those positive things in my life and what ways my life is better than I could have imagined. Shifting our focus from those things that disappoint to those that bless can often help you regain your perspective.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross once said:
“When we face the worst that can happen in any situation, we grow. When circumstances are at their worst, we can find our best.”
When we look at challenging situations – face them and learn from them – we become better equipped for the challenges we face in the future. Victory over moles often comes simply because of persistence. In the same way, victory over our own life-moles may come just because we kept fighting and wore down the situation. I realize that there is nothing new here… no new answers have been provided. However, it is often good just to realize that what you face is common to many individuals all around you. Keep fighting!
Have a victorious day! I hope it is a tremendous one for you.