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Where Are You Slowly Boiling to Death?

The story goes that if you put a frog in boiling water, it’ll promptly jump out—but if you put that same frog in water that’s room temperature and slowly turn up the heat, the frog will happily boil to death.

I say we take their word for it.

The point is, are you putting up with situations that are no longer acceptable? Sometimes we go along with other people's behavior, other people's agendas—simply because we have been. Even if we protest, we're still boiling.

A few examples:

  • The friend who says "We should get together" but never seems to come up with a plan—or follow through with yours
  • The dreaded phone calls from the co-worker in crisis
  • The new car that keeps breaking down (I had this. After steering issue #3, I sold that bad boy and never looked back)
  • Recurring meetings that are no longer productive
  • The boss who's six months late doing your annual review
Injustices like these often start out small. They may even stay small. But they drain our energy in ways we can’t explain, in ways that seem out of proportion.


“ ...if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them.” —St. Augustine, on “small” sins

3 Ways to Escape the Boiling Water

  1. "Don't correct, redirect." Focus on what you want. As in, "Hey, next time could you ...?" You can say it with a smile—but you don't have to.
  2. Don’t announce it, just do it. The co-worker in crisis keeps calling because they’re getting that need met. Stop meeting the need, and they’ll take it somewhere else. And the friend who keeps flaking out? Sometimes the solution is to be less available, less responsive. It works.
  3. Take what therapists call “opposite action.” Simply put, do something different. Disrupt the pattern. For example, if you would normally explain why you didn't pick up the call, try simply shrugging. Keep it light. Side note: Humor can help. But I would not use humor, let alone edgy humor, with folks who may feel threatened by it. Use humor instead to bless and connect. Use it to let the other person save face.

Bottom line: This is your life—your energy, your soul. When something's chipping away at any of the three, be willing to take decisive action. You can do this. And you’ll feel so much better when you do.

Injustices often start out small. They may stay small. But they drain our energy in ways we can’t explain.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at UltimateReminders.com/mondaymorningpeptalk.