“Up With Which I Will Not Put”

“When a memorandum passed round a certain Government department, one young pedant scribbled a postscript drawing attention to the fact that the sentence ended with a preposition, which caused the original writer to circulate another memorandum complaining that the anonymous postscript was ‘offensive impertinence, up with which I will not put.’ —The Strand Magazine.” From an article in The Wall Street Journal, 30 Sep 1942.

When You Don’t Deal With Annoyances

This witty quote – “offensive impertinence, up with which I will not put” – is frequently attributed to Sir Winston Churchill but there is no conclusive evidence that he actually wrote or said it. However, my purpose is not to conjecture who said it. Instead, I want to ask, what are the things up with which you are putting? You know, those little – and big – things that you are tolerating instead of dealing with.

“By ignoring the problem,” said Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time For Your Life, “you raise your threshold for pain and make it easier to put up with more.” Soon, petty annoyances drop off your radar, minor annoyances become petty, and major annoyances become minor. Then your life falls apart or you get stuck in place because you aren’t dealing with your stuff.

What Are You Tolerating?

What annoyances, irritations, and problems are you tolerating? These could range from minor issues to a major problem you are ignoring, hoping it will go away. Scratched sunglasses. Holes in your socks. Dirty car windows. An overbearing boss. A friend who takes advantage of your time. TV commercials. Not having any ready cash on hand. A loveless marriage.

Talane Miedaner, life coach and author, estimates that most of us have from 60 to 100 things we are tolerating. [Miedaner 3] Anything that you are putting up with, that you are tolerating, is a drain on your energy.

An Energy Drain

Consider this. Think of one thing you are tolerating – let’s say it’s your garage that needs cleaning out and organizing. Every time you walk in to your garage, you get that uncomfortable feeling and think, “I’ve got to get this place straightened out some day.” You’ve spent mental and emotional energy on the thought but have done nothing to alleviate the situation.

Multiply that small drain by 60 or 100 such encounters every day and you see what a drain these annoyances are taking. Plus, every time you think, “I’ve got to do this some day”, your subconscious mind says “Right” and adds it to the running list it keeps of everything you have to do. Now, the subconscious has no sense of time. It doesn’t understand “some day”. So, from time to time, usually at an inopportune moment, the subconscious rises up and says, “Remember, you need to do this, and you need to do this, and you need to do this, and you need to do this, and you need to do this . . .” Energy expended, nothing accomplished.

Tolerating Vs. Being Tolerant

There is a difference between being tolerant and tolerating annoyances. To be tolerant is to accept other viewpoints, beliefs, and opinions, even if you disagree with them. Tolerating is to put up with situations or other people’s behaviors when they are bad for you. So how about your irritations up with which you will no longer put? Here’s a suggested plan for dealing with them.

First, Make A List

First, write them down — all of them. 20. 50. 60. 100. 200. The number isn’t important, just put them all down. The simple act of getting them down on paper and out of your brain can make you feel lighter and more energetic.

Here are a few to get you started. These may not apply to you but they should help prime the pump. It might be beneficial to take your pen and paper and walk through your house to help bring some of those irritations that have dropped off your radar back into your consciousness. Here’s the starting list.

  • Not having enough storage space.
  • Not saving money each month.
  • Walls that need painting.
  • A dirty car.
  • Addiction to sugar, tobacco, caffeine, adrenaline, etc.
  • Cluttered closets.
  • Doors that stick and are hard to open or close.
  • Clothes that no longer fit well – too big or too small.
  • Co-workers who interrupt me when I’m busy.
  • E-mails from lists I am no longer interested in. (But not The Excelerated Life, I hope!)

Now, Deal With Your Annoyances

Once you have them down on paper, you must act on them or your brain won’t trust that it can give them up and will start keeping track of them again. This reopens the energy drain that getting them out of your head and onto a written list closed up. There are a number of ways to attack the list. Choose one and get started!

Go for the low-hanging fruit. Find the items on the list that you can easily deal with and complete as many as you can. This gets you off to a quick start.

Do the hardest thing first. This one will likely take some time. Do something — anything — right now to get started and schedule time to complete this task. Getting the hardest one out of the way is freeing and gives you impetus to attack the rest of your list.

Set aside a Saturday and work through your list. If your list of tolerations is long, you may need more than one day. Focused time can help you deal with a good number of your annoyances.

Become A Toleration Free Zone

What ever tactic (or combination) you choose, get started right away and keep at it till you have dealt with all your list. Handle them in a way that they won’t come back to bite you for at least 5 years, if ever. Then become a “toleration free zone” . . . deal with those annoyances and irritations as they come up. Don’t step over anything. Deal with it now and keep it from nagging away at your energy. Make these problems, irritations, and annoyances the things “up with which you will not put”.

Dealing with the things you’ve been tolerating is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.

Read more about the Excelerated Life™.


Miedaner, Talane. Coach Yourself To Success. Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary Books, 2000

deal with annoyances

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