Monday, 11 January 2016
Stress is to the human soul what indebtedness is for a business
Away from excessive stress
An efficient approach to living is easier to name than to implement. Minimizing stress requires man to concentrate his energies on the essential areas of his life. This is a goal that can only be achieved by establishing priorities. Eliminating stress results from making choices and embracing simplification.
Why are so many people reluctant to set priorities in their lives? Why do they prefer to run in circles rather than follow a straightforward path towards their objectives? Individuals affected by stress frequently lack consistent criteria to make decisions. Men and women who live in anxiety often fear standing still for a minute and questioning their own contradictions.
Overloading one's days with senseless activities is a psychological defence mechanism against the fear of taking responsibility. Rational decisions are impossible for people who lack a sense of direction. On many occasions, having too much to do is an excuse to avoid facing indecision. Small talk with one hundred acquaintances cannot replace a deep conversation with one close friend.
Setting clear priorities
Stress is to the human soul what indebtedness is for a business. Both are problems that compound with time unless a workable strategy is adopted. Intelligent choices enhance professional and private results. Efficiency begins with clarity.
Resources, in particular time, are limited in all human endeavours. We minimize stress when we apply simplification, concentration, and selection to make the best of what we have available. Those three elements constitute the rational approach to eliminating anxiety and maintaining a healthy psychological balance.
Simplification, the opposite of complexity, results in more energy. Fruit growers prune trees once per year in order to reinforce the vigour of the healthiest branches. Lean trees produce more fruit than those loaded with moribund branches. In the same way, stress is minimized when we make rational choices and discard activities that waste our time and bring little satisfaction.
Concentration improves results in business and private life. Shepherds cull herds to prevent contagious sickness to spread. By nurturing only healthy sheep, they ensure an optimal result. The benefits of concentration also apply to human affairs. Minimizing stress involves abandoning wasteful activities and focusing our time in areas of importance.
Selection frees up time for what really counts. Every man should aim at a future that is better than his present. Know your priorities and reaffirm them at every opportunity. Clever retailers sell slow-moving items at low prices in order to make space for more popular goods. In order to minimize stress, we need to make clear decisions and abandon unattainable goals.
The rational approach
Individuals succeed in reducing stress when they acquire a rational approach to living. Anxiety disappears from our lives when we follow logical and consistent principles. Thinking long-term allows man to identify his goals and priorities. Thoughtfulness allows man to gain visibility and increase his efficiency.
Productivity experts advise workers to clear up the factory floor in order to allow them to see their own mistakes. It is only after misplaced tools and obsolete inventory have been removed that people figure out how to improve and change their ways. Without visibility, there can be no transformation. Without choices, there can be no progress.
Setting priorities and making rational decisions constitute the best way to reduce stress in our lives. A cluttered agenda is a cage full of paradise birds waiting to be released. Those birds are your best ideas, the ones that you have not yet formulated. Simplify your life and sharpen your ambitions. The birds are ready to fly. Open the cage door and set them free.
Image by Esme_Vos under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us
For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books