Lessons From A Blood Test

Not too long ago, I had to have a blood test. Which should be a normal five minutes in and out kind of errand. Assuming that the person drawing the blood is proficient, and my blood vessels are being co-operative. On this particular occasion, things went more or less to plan (I won’t gross you out with the details – that’s the next paragraph).

So why do I sometimes get a little nervous when I walk into the little room? Because there’s been times that it hasn’t gone well. When I haven’t eaten enough before hand, or if the practitioner is comparatively inexperienced, it can take multiple attempts, leaving me with tender bruises for a few weeks. The worst is when they touch a nerve and the pain shoots through your whole arm but you still have to keep very, very still or it just takes longer. I’ve learnt that one from experience.

But I’m not nervous because I think I can fail the blood test. Because failing the blood test isn’t a sign that you’re stupid, or lazy or any of the things that it means in school. Sometimes failing a blood test means you can correctly identify what is wrong before it actually becomes a problem. And who wouldn’t want to solve a problem as early as possible?

People, that’s who. We like our little bubbles. We like to pretend everything is alright when it may not be. We excuse, explain and justify the unacceptable in ourselves and others because “it’s just this one time” or “nobody got hurt” or “everybody’s doing it”. We don’t like to admit that while it may not be a problem for that person over there, the very same thing might be the beginning of a bigger issue for ourselves. If we were to do metaphorical blood tests, theirs would be fine, but ours would not.

It might be easy for the right now to just leave the little problem and not address it – after all, it’s just a little problem. But little problems can sometimes grow, and sometimes we don’t see how big they have really become until it is too late.

And yes, I know, this is supposed to be an encouraging blog. It still is. I’m encouraging you not to be afraid to deal with the little things. To be honest with yourself about whether the little thing is a sign of a potential future big thing, and to act appropriately. Take the blood test, so you know what you’re dealing with.

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