This week I met with three very stressed out people.
Over the course of most weeks I meet with a number of people – mostly clients – and this week was no exception, however my three visits with these folks stand out for the powerful lesson they bring to all.
In listening to the various causes of their stress there was no doubt in my mind of the legitimacy of their feelings.
Each of them is dealing with situations that would not fit on the “pleasant” side of the continuum nor are they dealing with anything I would list as “catastrophic.”
Of course, I fully understand that one person’s stress is another person’s non-issue and that is the exact point I am attempting to make in today’s posting.
I have known all three for some time and have great respect and admiration for each of them.
And yet, for some reason, during their time with me this week, they seemed to have completely misplaced the very thing that determines whether our lives are filled with happiness or not and determines whether we have smiles or frowns on our faces.
Each of them had made the common and fundamental error of assuming there is a cause and effect equation in the world that immediately attaches the things that happen in our lives to our state of mind.
As we have often discussed, nothing could be further from the truth and as I witnessed the pain and confusion of each of these three folks I realized how difficult it is for most of us to not believe in a causal link between things that happen and how we respond.
There is a powerful way of behaving that may help many of us change the way we respond to stress-inducing situations.
It requires the formation of a new habit of constantly asking ourselves throughout each day, “What am I focusing on right now?”
Taking a moment to ask this question paves way for us to ask further questions.
If we are focusing on some event in our lives – perhaps the loss of a job – and are feeling threatened, vulnerable, and weak because of this, then this question challenges us to change how we feel and to energize ourselves into taking positive action to replace that lost job.
I guess what I’m saying is this; if you recently lost your job you are unemployed. That’s a fact – it is what it is – and regardless of how you feel you are still unemployed.
Being inconsolable and stressed-out will not find you a new job. It is not your reality of joblessness but rather the state of your mind that will determine how you feel and how you feel will of course determine how much energy, passion, effort and determination (or absence thereof) you will put into becoming gainfully employed.
I had a version of this discussion on three similar occasions this past week and interestingly by the end of the week I also received phone calls from each of the three folks just calling to say thanks for the pep talk.
It wasn’t a pep talk, it was a truth talk. And the truth is this: if we can accept the fact of the power of perspective, we can also accept that each of us has the ability to deal in a constructive, positive and forward-moving way with any situation that occurs in our lives.
That’s a fact. It’s the truth.
And it’s the truth, the experts tell us, that will set us free.
Till we read again.