Peter Griffiths Columns Print This Page
Time To Think Of Packing Flour

Daily Herald February 24, 1978

At winter festivals, one of the King Trapper events is flour packing. Each contestant tries to carry a load of flour on his back for a set distance.

People respond in different ways when dealing with problems. It is like a flour packing contest. We have to pack our own flour in life. We all need to use energy and effort to face problems in life. Two things determine if we succeed at our personal "flour packing contest". One is how we approach and tackle a task. The other is our frame of mind or mental set.

Some people never admit to their problems. They deny them. They behave like ostriches, burying their heads and not seeing a thing. If you won't look at your problems, the problems won't go away on their own.

Think of the flour you have to pack, as a problem that you need to face. Too often people carry problems around with them day after day, never taking a rest from them. They never take them down off their back. They end up wearing themselves down. What would it be like to carry 10 kilograms (24 lbs.) of flour on your back all day. It might not seem heavy the first minutes, or even the first hour. In time, it would drain your energy. You would weaken. Before long, that 10 kilograms would feel like 10 tons.

You can carry a heavy load for a short time, if it is for a definite period of time, and for a definite purpose. But some people who wear themselves down never realize they are doing it. They are like ostriches. Other people know what they are doing. They choose to carry their "flour" or "burdens" around all the time. They also let others know they are doing it. They are martyrs and poor-me-ers.

How can you deal with problems successfully? Face them. Put your best efforts into dealing with them. Go as far as you can to solve them. Then, take the problems off your back for a while.

"But I can't do that" is a familiar cry. Nobody goes into a Flour Packing Contest unprepared. They condition themselves. They start with a small load and build up to a heavy load. They go a short distance and gradually lengthen it. They also relax at times. They don't run themselves down.

Problems can be tackled in the same way. Don't go at your biggest problem first. Take one that is a challenge, but a challenge you are able to accept. Don't kick yourself if you don't get as far as you would like to in solving it on the first attempt. Give yourself a pat on the back for what you accomplished, not a kick for what you didn't achieve. Build up your strength and tolerance for bigger problems to come.

An athlete's mental attitude towards his goal is as important as his physical skills. Athletes get "psyched up" for a competition. Condition yourself and psych yourself up. If you put yourself down and allow negative feelings to dominate your mind, you might as well drop out of the competition. Put your best effort forward, but allow yourself to be imperfect. You don't need the perfect solution to your problems, just one that works. Recognize and deal realistically with your problems. You may not become the King Trapper of a winter festival. You will, however, win your own personal flour packing contest.