ATM of Frustration

For my last night in Dubai, I was invited to a wonderful dinner at an Asian Fusion restaurant at the Souk Madinat Jumeriah. The Madinat is a traditional Arabian marketplace of shops, restaurants and bars. The ambiance is brilliantly created by the presence of wind towers, narrow waterways and alleyways lit by lanterns.

Mandinat Souk

Surrounded by this incredible backdrop my friend and I engaged in some rich meaningful dialog. You know that feel-good conversation where you stop for a second and say, “YES!”, and every idea and word that comes to fruition seems like the best one in the galaxy.

From this conversation “ABANDON THE MOMENT” or ATM was born.

We were talking about times in any given day where you feel like your blood pressure is sky rocketing through the roof, your pupils are dilated and every single task seems like it’s pushing you down to the floor.

5 more minutes you say, just going to finish this one email, return that one call, review the last page of that document, read that article, check my twitter status, clean the papers off my desk, complete the finishing touches of that project… you get the idea. You reassure yourself it’s only a few more tasks and the extra minutes will be the life saver to get it done! Peace of mind right?

The 5 minutes turns into 50 and the next thing you know you haven’t accomplished anything. Reality is that you are even less ahead then when you started. We get so caught up in the instant gratification of trying to “get it done”, yet how successful will you be if you are attempting to accomplish things in a frustrated and cloudy frame of mind.


I’m not saying it’s time to get some cash and treat yourself (though that doesn’t hurt). I’m saying abandon that moment of stress, walk away, take a mini break!

Since I was at an Asian restaurant when this came up, let’s illustrate the ATM concept with a pair of simple wooden chopsticks. The chopsticks in their original form (stuck together) represent the “I need 5 more minutes” you that is frustrated and non-productive. Clearly, trying to grab any food with one wide stick will result in a no-win situation and a rather messy outcome.

Break them apart

Break them apart

Instead of pointlessly trying to shovel food into your mouth with one stick, you need to stop and ATM that frustration. When you step away, calm down and look at the situation at hand it becomes apparent that you need to snap those sticks in half to get their full value.

ATM baby!

ATM baby!

Be mindful this week and observe yourself when it’s time to ATM. Your health will thank you. The best part is, when you get back to all those tasks, the 5 minutes will probably be all you need to get the job done efficiently. Productivity at its best!

Put those chopsticks to good use and take the time to enjoy that scrumptious food.



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