Life often gets stressful out of nowhere. You think you have everything in order, but Ah, the lovely driver behind you texting and drinking his pumpkin latte didn’t saw you stop, and delightfully crashed his car into yours. You’re ok, don’t worry, it was just a mild crash, but mild enough to stop you in the middle of the traffic to call the insurance company, plus having to call your sister because you were going to pick your daughter up from school.
“The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness. ”
― Michel de Montaigne
Really Montaigne? Really? cheerful in this situation? I didn’t do anything other than driving normally, and this idiot crashed and now my whole night is ruined!
Nevertheless, Montaigne’s declaration remains the same, a wise man is a cheerful man…
If you’ve never worked on a job that requires you to meet tight deadlines, man, you are losing a world of stressful fun. Nothing will teach you the art of stress management as good as a tight deadline. Just like in my car-crash example, you can do your job great, absolutely perfecto, and still, you’re going to find problems and dumb people on the way. Someone will not deliver during the weekend because of his brother’s wedding, getting mad drunk or maybe you will be the one that gets drunk and your mental capacity just won’t allow you to work on a Sunday.
Something always happens, always.
Either way, you still have to deliver the job. It’s frustrating and there’s a lot of emotion going around as you are working with human beings, but hey, there is only so much that you can do, and getting angry, sad, or fearful, just makes things worse.
You can see someone is good at this type of work when his face shows the most beautiful no-fucks expression ever and makes things happen without the slightest encumberment of unnecessary emotion. Whistling “all my single ladies” while everyone around him is crashing down on the emotional train and losing their shit.
That’s a man of wisdom, right there.
Why? What is going on in this beautiful, wise, mind?
Basically, two things: Responsibility and Control.
Many things can happen, many things will happen, trust me. But still, you are alive and you are part of all of this madness, so, as much you affect everything around you, for the good, or for the bad, you are affected by everything around you as well.
Now, at this crossroads, you have to decide between two mindsets.
The first one is the not so helpful “it’s not my fault and someone should take care of this” mindset. You could do this, no one’s stopping you, but more often than not, no one is going to do anything at all, especially if everyone takes this mindset.
If you are facing the consequences of an action, be that action yours or someone else’s, you possess the responsibility of the action. Whereas when you choose guilt or fault you cannot do anything and you still have the problem, thinking about the past and being inside your head doing nothing, responsibility gives you power to at least do something about it and not be left defenseless and useless.
The wise man knows this, so he will never be helpless. There is always something you can do. Be better, be braver, be more resourceful.
Which leads me to the second thing.
There is only so much that you can do. You cannot control people, you cannot control the weather. But you can control your reactions, such as choosing to whistle “all my single ladies” and solve whatever is needed to be solved.
Worrying and guilt come when you know that you are not doing everything in your power to solve what needs to be solved. When you do, is as if a weight is lifted from your back.
It’s that: “I did everything I could that was in my hands, let it come what has to come” mindset, it’s liberating.
This mindset gives way to cheerfulness, as there will never be a time when you are not in control of yourself. You know what you can control, you know the difference, and plus that, you are responsible for you are not afraid of taking action and taking care of anything that comes at you, that big “bring it on”.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power or our will. ”
Try to take this to your job and life in general. You will be 10 times more effective, less stressed and happier.
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