Under Pressure: The Solution To Stress

Under Pressure: The Solution To Stress

Dan Martell On Top of Mt Rainier

Most people find it weird that I’ll train for 6 months so I can attempt to summit the biggest mountain in the contiguous United States – Mt Rainier – but I won’t: wait 10 minutes in line at the bank, spend 30 minutes cleaning my car, or mow my own lawn. I just wont do it. I refuse to do it.

Some say I’m lazy. I call it leveraging my time.

In my mind, it all comes down to the imposed vs. inflicted situations. It’s the difference between the time I spend on things I want to do (imposed) – to push myself and grow as a person – and putting up with the way the world works (inflicted), wasting time, just because it’s normally done that way. I can’t stand it.

That’s when I realized this whole concept applies to dealing with stress, or being under pressure.

For a long time I’ve believed that there’s a HUGE difference between stress I bring upon myself in my pursuits (positive), and one that is forced upon me for whatever reason (negative). It turns out I was right … it’s called Eustress & Distress.

This may sound crazy, but the way I deal with “distress” is by filling my life with “eustress” (or U-stress as I like to call it), so there’s no room left for the bad kind. Now, I’m not a doctor, so if you’re having chest pains, go see a physician – but if you’re always stressed out and anxious, take on a new personal goal. Pick anything. Go for it. Replace some of the bad stress with good stress.

Either way, now you know. You can’t unlearn this. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, just ask, “Is this self imposed or inflicted?” Then decide to change, or just smile because you know better.

What are some of your self imposed “Stressers”? How do you deal with it? Leave a comment below. I read and reply to each one.

  • http://SteveDaar.com Steve Daar

    Nice. Reminds me of something I learned about habits. You don’t need to struggle figuring out how to “rid” yourself of bad habits. If you add in and/or consciously devote more time to good habits.

    With less time and attention, the bad habits will starve and die with far less struggle.

    What are some of the most effective ways you’ve added eustress?

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Steve, great comparison .. works the same way. It’s just an honest framework to approach your life and it makes it better.

      For me, I do a bunch of things.
      1) I have a bucket list
      2) I plan like I’m going to die in 5 years.
      3) I surround myself with people who push me to make bigger eustress decisions
      4) I spend all my time in my “magic zone” and outside my comfort-zone. If it’s not scary, then I’m not being honest with myself.
      5) I don’t compromise.

      It’s why I refuse to mow m lawn. If I do it once, I feel like I gave up on what I know to be a better use of my time. At first my wife hated this … as she would sometimes finding herself shovelling the front walk way if the plow guy hadn’t come yet, but I won’t do it. No compromises. I’d rather live the uncomfortableness of it and make better decisions going forward.

      Clear as mud? 🙂

      • http://SteveDaar.com Steve Daar

        Very interesting. Really like the ‘plan like I’m going to die in 5 years’ one – – puts some urgency on my plans, goals, and impact I want to achieve.

        Looking forward to more from you, Dan.

  • Marc Albert

    I’ve gone through this process, but not nearly as deliberate. It just seems that for alot of it (your examples anyways) you need the financial means to do so. If you won’t mow your own lawn, someone needs to do it (unless you want your neighbors to show up with pitchforks)….falls in the responsibility pile. So ya, like you now I pay to not have to do it….but when I was bootstrapping on NO budget I felt the stress of Having to do it all. Maybe it was just my lack of imagination. Maybe I should have not had a lawn to mow at that time…live in an apartment rather than a house.
    Great post though. It highlights that accepting the status quo is accepting defeat. Be deliberate, there is always a way.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Marc, I totally messed up this post in the sense that I have 2 different (but related) ideas running together. Time management & stress.

      They’re the same because they both require you to decide how to be leverage your time … but both are different. One is a bout productivity, the other is about a mind set. Similar but different.

      The key is to focus on the pressure life puts on us … it’s always better to make it self imposed then to let the world do it to you.

      It’s like those that get frustrated because they’re stuck in traffic going to a job they hate, vs. being late to make payroll because you decided to start a business.

      The later is one you decided to undertake … most people don’t choose to be stuck in traffic.

      It’s subtle but important.

      You’ve got this one nailed … so not news to you, but maybe you didn’t do it consciously… just worth knowing the difference.

      Thanks for helping me see the issue with the post. I continue to be a student and learn.

      • Marc Albert

        Both those themes were heavily impacting my life at the time and I never even considered that I had options (other than spend $)…..having my first child while I was completely consumed by business survival almost destroyed my home life. Responsibility is a tough thing to navigate. It would be interesting to see the stats on startup success while founders have don’t have a family. i would not be surprised if Responsibility was a important barrier to success if not properly managed or considered.
        You can probably write a book on how you have managed to stay sane and thrive over the last 3 years building Clarity, having 2 kids, building a house etc etc.

    • natacha dugas

      Choices are important in these cases. But I do have to say this… Marc, if you are paid $$ to work and you are paying someone less to mow your lawn, then, it is to your benefit to hire that person and you work those hours for a profit of x. I know that you are talking as a general thing… but I’ve always thought that I didn’t have enough money to hire a cleaning lady. But then, when I calculated everything I’ve notice that it was best for me to spend those 6 hours at work than cleaning. It’s just that I believe that people look at the amount and don’t calculate their own time in it. YOUR time as a cost. So, for me, the most time consuming thing I do without making money is mowing my lawn, 2 acres. I sit down in my tractor and listen to a great book! Then, I’m ready to go back to work!

  • http://tdub.co twanlass

    Hey Dan – great post.

    Self-imposed stressors include growing my businesses, setting short, medium and long term goals, etc.

    The interesting idea here though is that if you’re imposing some stress on yourself (challenging yourself to grow or really mapping out a strategy to achieve your goals) there won’t be much room left for bad stress (or the stuff that just seems to happen to you).

    Agreed on carefully leveraging your time. Even 30 minutes for a coffee date can be an incredibly poor use of time if it’s not aligned w/ your goals.

    PS – I always thought Mount Whitney was the tallest mountain in the contiguous US. Maybe that’s measured different ways?

  • natacha dugas

    Excellent post… and did you know that it’s not stress that kill, but the actual perspective on stress. People who believe that stress will kill them have higher risks of dying from related illnesses. Power of the mind! Embrassing stress as a driver is the wise choice! 🙂

  • Soley Soucie

    Great point Dan!!! I had my Coach tell me a few weeks ago Soley.. you know when you are stress you are resisting something versus embracing it. I know this seems so logical but it was a moment where I was like…. RIGHT…. so simple yet so true!!!!

    Happy New Year!

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