The Upside of Getting Annoyed

I’ve been doing this little experiment for the past two weeks.

Each time I got annoyed by something, rather than dwelling on it or letting it affect my mood, I would simply take out my iPhone and jot down the annoyance in the Notes app…and then move on. Or at least try to 😃

Why? A few reasons.

First, I wanted to see what types of things annoyed me and see if there were any patterns or things I could do differently to avoid them.

Second, it’s a pretty good Jedi mind trick if you struggle with becoming easily angered or frustrated. You’re giving yourself an outlet to vent (writing it down) and you’re giving yourself permission to think about it. LATER.

Now here it is, super early on a Sunday morning before anyone else is awake at Casa Bacon (which by the way, is when most of these blogs are written) and I’m looking at my long list of grievances in Notes. And you know what? My blood isn’t boiling. I’m kind of laughing at this stuff in retrospect. And I actually see a few potential business ideas in here. So let's dig into the list.

Here are the things that annoyed me over the past two weeks in no particular order:

1. People that take freaking FOREVER at the fancy mix-your-own soda fountains in restaurants. 

These people are literally the worst. They’re usually kids that can’t decide between disgusting flavors like "black cherry vanilla sierra mist” and “strawberry orange diet dr. pepper”.  Or older people that can’t figure out the menu selection system.

You know what I drink from those fountains? Water. And it takes me 3 seconds to find and pour it. 

Related vent: this happens at Starbucks too. I always get a black coffee. The three people ahead of me always get things like “tall white chocolate mochas with 3 shots of espresso and soy milk” etc. Which inevitably clogs down the Starbucks line worse than a toilet at Taco Bell. 

And speaking of toilets...

2. When I sit down to poop and immediately start hearing my kids scream from another part of the house. 

This. Happens. Every. Time.

As soon as the cheeks hit the seat, I hear what sounds like an OJ Simpson double murder occurring somewhere on the property. Which causes incredible anxiety in me like “Do I need to finish up and see if someone was injured?” “Do I sit here like a total a-hole and let Brooke figure it out?” Either way it completely ruins my safe haven and 10 minutes of peace and quiet.

3. Figuring out how to carry my phone, wallet and keys whenever I wear athletic shorts. 

It’s summer which means that it’s shorts weather. And if your super casual like me, it’s athletic shorts weather, which I wear 90% of the time I leave the house to run errands, hit the gym, take the kids to the park, etc.

Women have this amazing thing they get to put all their stuff in. They're called purses.

Guys? We get two pockets. Two incredibly small and slippery pockets if you’re wearing athletic shorts. Which means that your phone, wallet and keys are constantly falling out of your pockets whenever you sit down.

And there’s really no viable alternative to this issue. You can either rock out a fanny pack or cargo shorts, both of which have been aggressively shunned by the female community. 

The fanny pack's greatest moment of glory. 

The fanny pack's greatest moment of glory. 

4. When paper towel dispensers are stuffed SO tight you can’t actually get a paper towel out. 

I’ve seen this happen at a few different places lately (office buildings, the mall, the airport, etc.) and I’m starting to believe that the janitors of America are conspiring against us. This also happens with restaurant napkin dispensers where it’s so hard to grab 1 napkin you "go deep" and accidentally grab 60 napkins instead.   

5. People that leave overly cryptic status updates on Facebook. 

You know the type. My wife Brooke calls them "Vaguebookers". Something incredibly bad or good is going on, but instead of just saying what it is or simply not posting anything, you see stuff like this:

“Something AMAZING happened today!!!"
“Don’t know how much longer I can take of this."
“Wow. Just wow."

This is America and people can use Facebook however they want, but here’s what typically happens with the 200 or so friends that see this friend’s post on FB.

- 5 of those friends know exactly what that person is referring to. The inner circle.

- 150 will scroll through quickly and either not absorb it, not care or just not see it. The outer circle.

- THEN you have this block of 30-40 people that are somewhat close to this person but don’t know what’s up and are left questioning their own status in the circle of trust. “She never mentioned anything to me earlier today!” “I just saw him the other day, I wonder why he didn’t say anything”, etc. etc.

All this does is create anxiety for others. Which maybe is their goal? idk.

6. Pretty much everything about LinkedIn. 

One more social media rant while I’m on the topic. I recently changed jobs, therefore, I updated my LinkedIn profile and job title like professional people do. But then something unexpected happened. I started getting a FLOOD of messages from old friends and coworkers through the LinkedIn app and email. Like over a hundred!

In my typical vain fashion, I felt soooo flattered when I saw them all rolling in. WOW. All these people wishing me well (on a weekend no less!) in my new endeavor. I really must have made a deep impact on them when we worked together 12 years ago, etc.

Then I started reading all my well wishes. And they all said the exact same thing:

“Congrats on the new role! Hope you’re doing well."

Every. Single. One. 

Then I figured it out. Apparently LinkedIn has a generic auto responder or pre-pops in those exact two sentences whenever you want to send along a new job congrats. And 99% of the people didn’t even bother to customize it. 

This wouldn’t normally bother me, but the fact that LinkedIn sent me an email for each and every message with the exact same message…that was annoying.

7. The cluster that is known as recording live sports on Directv. 

Let’s say you’re a diehard sports fan, but you have 4 small kids and aren’t able to watch sporting events in real time. With Directv you simply record those events and watch them later after the kids go to bed. In theory, it’s awesome.

But here’s what happens in reality. You turn on the TV a few hours after the event starts, the channel IS ON THAT SPORTING EVENT IN REAL TIME and you inadvertently see the score thereby spoiling the enjoyment of watching it from the beginning. 

The only alternative is to turn your head away from the TV when turning it on, mute it and somehow guess the remote buttons that will either rewind or take you to the start of the game. 

I have no idea if other people experience this or if this doesn’t happen with other cable providers, but will someone let me know if there’s a better way?

8. When my dog Ferris stares out our sliding glass door and barks incessantly at rabbits and birds and people walking their dogs past our house. 

This frustrates me to no end especially now that there’s a baby in the house. And if we let him out each time he does this, he just barks outside and annoys all our neighbors. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There’s a ton more stuff I jotted down related to bees and salads and bedsheets and more, but I’ll spare you another 1,000 words of whining. So... 

What did I learn from all of this? 

Problems are always the start of good business opportunities.

What if I created a coffee chain that had separate lines for plain coffee drinkers and fancy coffee drinkers? What if I invented some special lining for the lower third of my sliding glass door that obstructed the view of my dog and got him to stop barking? What if I invented a soundproof bathroom where dads could poop in peace?

These are all seeds for potential products and services and companies. 

It’s actually how FlapJacked was started a few years ago. The problem was finding something healthy that kids would actually eat in the morning and was also easy for parents to make.

So, your assignment for the week. Take note of all the annoyances around you for a few days and see if the next great American business is lurking in there somewhere. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.

Until next time! 

What I’m listening to this week:

Country music?! Generally speaking, country music is very high on my list of annoyances. But every now and then I hear something that I actually ummmm like. For the past few months I’ve been listening to this Maren Morris album and for whatever reason I love it. It’s terrific. Check out this lyric for example:

"If I had a dime every time that you crossed my mind
Well I'd basically be sitting on a big ass pile of dimes"

That is A++ country music writing right there. And the whole album is full of those kind of gems. Anyways, enjoy...