You know, when you think about it, there are two ways you can deal with stress. One thing you can do is to remove the thing that’s stressing you out. Problem is, one reason it’s probably stressing you is that you can’t get rid of it. So, what to do?
Well the second way to deal with stress is to change how you see it. One powerful way to do that is to draw a bull’s-eye with three rings to it. I know—it sounds a bit weird, but try it.
Once you’re done, write in the outer ring a list of all the things that could be bothering you that you have absolutely no control over. Death, taxes, rules and people you can’t change. That sort of thing. Often, we focus and obsess about things we can’t do anything about, but if we admit we have no control over them, we can lighten up a bit and begin to focus our energies on other things . . .
Like the second ring. Here, you can list the things and people whom you can influence, but can’t totally control. If you’re in sales, your customers can go there. Or maybe someone at work has a say over your project. You can present to him all the reasons you think things should work the way you want them to, but, in the end, it’s his call. Obviously you should spend a certain amount of your psychic energy on these things, but with everything in the second ring, you can only do what you can do, and then you need to let go.
Finally, there’s the sweet spot—the center of the circle. That’s where you enter all the things that you have total control over. Do you oversee the budget on a project, or how a task gets done? Or even closer to home, do you control things like the training you get? The center’s where they all go.
The point is that when you’re stressed out, break the problem into its parts and put each one in the ring where they best fit. Remember that you put in the outer circle things and people you have no control over. And, you stop focusing on them. Next, there’s the middle circle, where you can exert some influence. Spend some time doing just that. And, then there’s the center circle, where you list the things you have total control over. And it is there where you spend most of your energy—psychic and otherwise.
Look, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. When things start stressing you out, remember to put them in their one of three places, then get to work on and only think about what you can actually change.
Try it, and lighten up!