These are strange times — especially stressful times.
And you can see the signs everywhere. Dr. Bob Moorehead pointed out a few of the signs when he wrote:
- We have taller buildings but shorter tempers;
- Wider freeways but narrower viewpoints.
- We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
- We have more degrees but less sense;
- More knowledge but less judgement.
- We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values;
- More conveniences, yet less time.
- We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.
- And we put in more effort, but have less success.
Can you relate to any of that? I sure can. It’s a pretty good description of the world we live in. A world filled with incredible stress where work-life balance is more of a fantasy than a reality.
BUT you don’t have to live like that. You have every right and every chance of having a life, a career, and a relationship without all the stress. It’s one of the 12 keys to success that I teach in my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
=> 1. Ignore the small stuff.
Maybe your coworker refuses to greet you in the morning. Maybe a customer uses a sharp tone of voice. Or maybe your spouse occasionally forgets to carry out an errand.
Well, so what? It’s not worth stewing about, talking about, and getting overly upset about. It’s just small stuff.
Get smart. Don’t spend $10.00 worth of energy on a 10-cent problem. Learn to spend 10 cents worth of energy on a 10-cent problem and $10.00 worth of energy on a $10.00 problem.
That was Dan Holka’s life-changing take-away. Dan says, “I attended your Journey-to-the-Extraordinary program you delivered at Thomson Reuters last spring and it changed my life. I had experienced job loss, bankruptcy, and a whole litany of recent negatives. But due to your Journey program, these past 9 months of my life have been fantastic. My one-year career at Thomson Reuters has seen an unbelievable turnaround, as well as my personal life being better than ever.”
“To give you one example, I’ve been happily married for 30 years, but I’ve been a lousy husband on numerous occasions. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were raking leaves … which have always been a real pain in the #@# … primarily because I went out of my way to cause stress and anxiety. Ruth and I had a wonderful experience raking, laughing, and enjoying each other. She has definitely seen the change in my behavior.””
I invite you to my next Journey program coming to Kansas City on April 19-20, 2018. Some early registration discounts are still available. Go to www.attendthejourney.com
If you want less stress and more balance, you’ve got to ignore the small stuff. And in the end, you’ll find out that an awful lot of things in life are just small stuff.
=> 2. Find humor in your daily life.
Laughter is one of the surest ways to diminish the stress in your life. Even medical doctors are talking about the stress-killing, endorphin-lifting effect of laughter.
So I urge you to be a humor detective. Look for funny things every day and laugh. I know I do, and it works.
Last week, for example, I was a bit saddened and stressed by the loss of my sister-in-law. That’s normal enough. But for a little lift, I read Dr. Ann Week’s upbeat perspective on the economy. She said:
- “Gas prices are so high that when I pulled into a station and asked for a dollar’s worth, the attendant dabbed some behind my ears.”
- “I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.”
- “The best things in life may be free, but the optional accessories really run up the bill.”
- “One nice thing about my salary, no one will ever hold me for ransom.”
- “It’s called ‘take-home pay’ because you can’t afford to go anywhere else with it!”
Looking for humor in your daily life may seem silly and unprofessional. But don’t pooh-pooh the power of humor. Norman Cousins documented the healing power of laughter in his book, The Anatomy of An Illness, when he was struck by life-threatening illnesses. It literally added years to his life.
And if you’re saying you just can’t find funny things in your daily life, buy a few joke books. Spend five minutes a day reading a few comedic lines from the great comedians. I do.
For example, I’ve always enjoyed the quips made by Groucho Marx … short, sharp, and funny. Groucho was known for such lines as…
- “From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend on reading it.”
- “I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER.”
- “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.”
- “Those are my principles and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”
- “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
- “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
Hopefully you’re catching my theme. To get through the stressful time and have more balance, ignore the small stuff AND find humor in your daily life.
Finally, for today’s Tuesday Tip…
=> 3. Use it now.
I’m amazed at all the people who work hard to get some nice things … things that would make their life more pleasant … and then don’t use those things. There’s no better time to use those nice things than when times are tough … because they’ll lift your spirits.
Ann Wells wrote about that in the Los Angeles Times. She wrote, “My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. ‘This’ he said, ‘is not a slip. This is lingerie.’ He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite: silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.”
Her brother-in-law continued, “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, and then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.”
He finished by saying, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”
What about you? Are you using the special things in your life now? After that experience, Ann Wells is.
She wrote, “I’m not ‘saving’ anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event — such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. ‘Someday’ and ‘one of these days’ are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.”
I learned this lesson from my Grandpa John. On several occasions when we went to visit, he would pull out a special bottle of wine to share with us. Grandma Em would chide him and say, “John, we were saving that bottle for a special occasion.” But Grandpa would remind her, “Em, what could be more special than spending time with our family?”
My final thought for today. Stress is a given. But suffering is optional. And work-life balance IS attainable … if you do the right things.
Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip, Issue 925 – 3 ways to become a STRESS BUSTER