The Q-Tip of Life

Life is an experience that is unique to you and only to you. Life is the culmination of your experiences, ideas, responses, reactions, behaviors, and actions. The only person in the driver’s seat of life is you. The actions of others can’t define you, so don’t let them. You decide your path. You decide who you want on this journey of life with you. Nobody else is responsible for your direction other than you.  Once you free your conscious mind from victimization, your path becomes clear. The energy inside you belongs to you. Don’t give it up to others who are undeserving. Save it for your journey. If you give up your compass, machete, food, and water, the only person to blame for being lost in the woods is yourself. 

You have heard many of these cliché’s already, and now consider leaving this article. After all, Q-tips are things you stick in your ears to unblock and remove the wax. What on earth do Q-tips have to do with creating a better life? The answer is simple, not much. The term Q-tip is a simple acronym that establishes a level of thinking that will move mountains in your life. First, let me clear the air or clear your ears; if you are unable to hear, you will interpret the world differently. Your interpretation may be right or wrong; however, it is your interpretation. Your brain fills in the blanks, and your sense of reality is what it is. Removing the cause that blocks your skewed understanding of the situation changes your response. In this case, your waxed-caked ears hear words muffled and incorrectly. Remove the wax, and you will now hear and interpret situations correctly. I know this is a farfetched exacerbation but stay with me. Your response to situations will change your life at that exact moment.  

Humans love to fill in the blanks with whatever they want. Have you ever watched a movie with the sound off? You can guess the plot by watching the actions of the characters. Your mind fills in the missing sound with your own words and justifications. As you fill in the blanks, you decide this movie is terrible. You hate the movie and turn it off. Five years later, a friend tells you about the movie, and you say to the friend you hate it because the characters were boring, and the plot was terrible. The friend wonders if you watched the same movie and how on earth you interpreted the movie this way. You miss out on a movie your friend knows you would love because of your emotions.

Human emotions are powerful. Emotions cause a cascade of reactions and responses that can create chaos and carnage. How you handle a situation sets the course for your life. It is that simple, and it is the truth. Nobody can make you do anything you don’t want to. Be in control of your emotions and take responsibility for them. Your response to a situation is yours and yours only. Stop making excuses and live by Q-tip. 

So, what in the world does Q-tip stand for? How is this simple acronym going to make my path in life more manageable? The answer is simple. When you live in the moment and take responsibility for your emotions, life gets better. I am not saying to be an emotionless person or a robot, but I am saying use techniques to process responses first. Reactive responses can result in you appearing as a pessimistic fool.

I will go into the techniques briefly, but first, I will reveal what Q-tip stands for. The phrase Q-tip helped me get through many challenging situations in my professional and personal life. Q-tip helped me unlock new doors and grow as a person. The more techniques I developed, the better I became at living Q-tip in the sub-conscience world. The less I made situations about myself and began viewing them from the outside. I can apply logic and use my thinking brain to solve problems that once were clouded by emotional, chemical activity. You control what you want when you unlock your mind from this prison. The next time a person in the grocery store bumps into you, and you want to rip them a new one, remember not to take their action personally. Unless you know this person and are out to get you, they bump into by mistake. You need to quit taking it personally when things happen around you. You need to stop reacting to things like you’re a victim and move past situations. When you Quit Taking It Personally, you free your life of negative emotions that hold you back.

Successful people are said to have high emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence can read a situation and apply logical solutions. Say a person with anxiety and severe stress begins calling you names at your favorite club. You have a couple of choices that will define your next future self. You can react and call names back and get into a physical altercation. You may end up going to jail with the defense that he started the fight. Remember the old saying “sticks and stones?” Your other options are to use Q-tip, understand the guy is going through some stuff and walk away and get him some help. When you use the Q-tip option, people will respect you, and there is no jail time involved.

Applying Q-tip does not need to be at an extreme level. You can apply situational awareness and emotional intelligence to daily interactions. Remove the emotions of a personal attack and make clear, logical decisions. Using Q-tip will result in better treatment and outcomes for other people. The impact is phenomenal. Using Q-tip will make you a better person. Controlling your emotions allows you to influence the situation on your terms.

A middle-aged man was in the waiting room of the lab at a hospital I worked years ago. I was the supervisor on duty and was called to a behavioral code. On arrival, I noticed many staff and visitors surrounding the man. They were yelling at him and telling the man he could not be upset and act as he was. I heard comments such as “he can’t talk to us that way” and “throw him out of here.” The man was swinging a chair around and yelling back at the staff. I walked close, making sure not to get hit by the chair, and asked the man a question. My emotions were high, but I could not show that to the man. I needed to be calm and told myself this situation had nothing to do with me. This was the man’s situation, and I needed not to take his actions personally. “Sir, why are you so upset?” The man instantly looked at me and replied, “my mom is dying, and no one will let me see her.” I removed the cause of his pain and told him we would find his mom. He put the chair down and walked with me. I resolved the situation using a calm approach and probing questions. I explored why the man was upset and then tried to solve it. I didn’t take the situation personally and allowed myself to help the man rather than throw in my emotions. Q-tip works. Use Q-tip every chance you get!