EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

For those of you with allergies, you know only too well that once you have a reaction to something, for some period of time even small amounts of that substance will set you off.

As I understand it, what happens is that an allergic reaction triggers elevated histamine levels in your body. If you stay away from whatever it is you are allergic to, gradually your histamine levels decline and although you are still allergic, it takes more of it to set you off.

(Now I know I shouldn’t stray too far from my usual sailing analogies, but I couldn’t think of one that was appropriate to this topic.)

We have all heard of the straw that broke the camel’s back. These are all part of the same problem we face when we are under stress. And, with today’s economy and job market, anyone who isn’t under stress isn’t paying attention.

To talk you off the window ledge, so to speak, I am going to suggest that you do some clear thinking about what might be the most significant problem you are currently facing that you can actually solve. When I’m in crisis, one of my mantras to those around me is “NO NEW PROBLEMS.” Our hands are full at the moment, and my suggestion (usually strongly worded) is to be careful driving.

If you can take one significant issue off your radar screen, even if it is a half solution that you would never consider when you were in your “right mind,” it might just be enough to allow you to take a deep breath and enjoy your children, spouse, or even a great sunset. As an example, let’s assume the car you are driving is on its last legs and normally you would buy a new car. (I’m talking bad brakes, bald tires, and the engine is smoking a bit.) Well, if you can’t afford a new car right now, at least get a used car that will ensure you don’t get stuck on a deserted road or busy highway at rush hour.

For those of you who haven’t read “The Road Less Traveled,” our total existence is explained in the first few pages: Life is difficult. If you accept this idea, everything makes sense.

Sure, you may remember a time when life was a lot better, but chances are you have forgotten about all the problems you were dealing with because they are painful memories.

You have no choice but to live in the here and now. Whatever problems you find you are facing, put them on a list and see what you can cross off. They may not be your biggest problems, but getting them off your list may be just enough to ensure that you don’t cross the line into a mental allergic reaction equivalent to anaphylactic shock.

Regards, Matt

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