My brain has a useful balance of creativity and organizational ability that does well with developing creative concepts and bringing them to reality. This is but a glimpse into how I work and what makes me tick. I host a podcast in Louisville called STARTUP: Conversations With Louisville Entrepreneurs

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Do You Suffer From GBS?

April 10, 2015 - Author: Dan Vonderheide - Comments are closed


It was a warm spring day in Muncie, Indiana. The summer semester at Ball State University had just started and I had moved into my first apartment where I lived alone. After sharing a room with my brother for many years, then having room mates in the dorms at BSU, it was quite an exciting time for me!

Amazingly, this was several years before the advent of the internet as we know it. The daily noise that we deal with in 2015 wasn’t nearly as overwhelming. But for a 20-year old kid taking summer classes and working a job (OK so it was radio so it wasn’t really work) who was trying to get settled, eke out some sort of life on a budget, manage a newish relationship, and have fun as often as possible, there was a lot going on.

I remember this day very clearly and I remember the thoughts that went through my head. The only thing I was trying to do was put a new garbage bag into the can. Easily an every day, menial task that we all complete frequently.

But that damned bag just would not cooperate.

You know how it works. Can’t figure out which end is open. Then when you do, it sticks together with static. Getting it to open up and line the can appropriately….well….you get the picture. In my head, this task that should have taken mere seconds was CONSUMING MY ENTIRE DAY!

Garbage Bag Syndrome (GBS) was founded that day.

I almost lost my mind with rage. Memory tells me that I threw the trash can down attempted to rip the bag into shreds (not easy with plastic) and said many, many, many words that just aren’t appropriate for a gentlemen to utter.  It was at that point that I really did have an epiphany that has served me well since that day in 1992.

What on Earth is the point? Why would I be so furious over a garbage bag with no feelings and no control over itself. Why would I be so furious at anything for that matter? It dawned on me that this was a frequent occurrence for me and I almost guarantee that it’s a frequent occurrence for you. Letting that sort of rage in and being unconscious about it is an easy way to allow stress to consume your life…and your behavior.

We’ve all seen the “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” book. I can’t quite agree with that notion, because I look to the small moments in my life to make it joyous. Hugging my kids, joking with my wife, admiring my old dog, feeling and hearing a breeze blow through the leaves – that’s the stuff, man – and I DO sweat it. I never would have noticed all of that if I hadn’t flipped out over a garbage bag 23 years ago.

Of course, nobody is totally immune to GBS. Just finding another cup on the counter after I’ve already loaded the dishwasher is enough to start that cauldron boiling. But backing off of social media for the past couple of weeks partnered with taking a week off of work has really helped me turn down that noise and just take care of the menial small stuff that does take up precious time so I can focus on the meaningful little things where I like to invest my time.

Try it. Just log out of your accounts for a few days. Focus on the things that YOU find important. Smell the roses. Hear the birds. Rediscover what it means to be who you are.

Categories: Self - Tag: , , , , ,