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When Instagram video first launched, my friends used it to share footage of their pets and friends. I, on the other hand, used it to detail my all out war against the notorious New York City mice.

Looking back on my adjustment to life in the big city, I realise now that grappling with a rodent problem taught me several important lessons. Indeed, I often apply what I’ve learned then to other situations with great success.

I survived New York City and its many mice to share these six tips that you can also use in your daily life.

1. Release your expectations.

The images of New York City sold to us in the Caribbean include those of beautiful skylines, busy streets and flashing billboards across Times Square. That’s why some people are shocked by the realities of the metropolitan when they move there.

New York City has a millions of rats and mice. In fact, Orkin ranks it as the second “rattiest” city in the United States, based on the number of rodent treatments conducted from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016.

Dealing with such a pervasive issue formed part of the culture shock I experienced when I first moved to New York City. However, I moved passed the initial stress of the situation by letting go of expectations.

Once you stop focusing on how you think life should be and learn to accept what is actually in front of you, your anxiety and stress with lessen. Only then will you start to make the changes you need for you to be happy.

2. Focus on solutions, not problems.

With mice literally swinging from my curtains, I had the choice of complaining about the problem or finding a solution. My budget was tight but thanks to the internet and a few trips to corner store, I found affordable items to help me in the fight.

I tried various traps that didn’t work, and even more humane approaches, such as spreading black pepper in the kitchen cupboards. Almost all failed but each attempt at catching the mice fueled me more.

When you’re faced with a problem, take a step back to consider the solutions. Worrying about it won’t make it go away. Instead, be resourceful and find clever workarounds that work for you.

3. Be proactive. 

After surviving my first winter in the company of rodents, I accepted that the New York City mice were there to stay. Yet, that didn’t mean I was content with letting them control life or my kitchen counter space.

To prepare for the colder months when the mice typically came indoors, I thought of ways to make my environment work for me and against the pests. I kept entrances sealed, covered the toilet to prevent their access through the pipes, and tried bribe my neighbours’ cats to join the fight.

Being proactive means focusing on prevention instead of only dealing with problems after they occur. Pay attention to signs of trouble in your life and take steps to ensure your don’t succumb to possible problems.

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