6 Elements of Stressful Living
and how to Live and Work Stress Free
Day 1: Pushing
Pushing is about forcing yourself to meet deadlines, to overwork, to do more than you can or to do what you don’t want to do.
Unless you are referring to a shopping cart, pushing is not the way to roll.
Have you tried to cut a piece of fabric or wood against the grain? Everything shatters. You have to put more effort for a lesser quality of result. Pushing is going against the grain of your being or against the grain of life or of a situation.
Unless it’s the moment when the baby shows the crown of its head, if you feel compelled to push in a situation, you are probably using excess force.
There is some effort needed in certain moments to break inertia; but other than that, moving along the grain accomplishes better results faster.
If you feel that you have to push, one or more of these things may be going on:
- You are being pressured by someone else. Is this truly needed or are they bullying you?
- You have created a habit of pushing yourself, and that is simply self-abuse.
- You are moving against the grain, and instead of stopping and finding how to move with the grain, you are obstinately pushing. Something’s going to break. And often that something is you.
- You are held hostage to a belief that you need to work hard and struggle and that belief is creating an attachment to struggle that is behind your pushing.
- You are comparing yourself to others, being a perfectionist or doing any of the other things below, and that leads you to push.
Going along the grain means being present in the here and now, aware and receptive to what is going on, so that you can respond promptly and effectively. This simple practice can cut off about a quarter of your workload.
Many of us lose touch with reality because we are being lead along by the chain of our plans. This makes us slow to respond to things happening in the here and now; things that could be solved immediately by taking a couple of minutes. Instead we keep doing what we planned and add the thing that needs to be solved to a never-ending to-do list. Since usually that thing is urgent, we run around putting off fires.
Going along the grain may also mean that you take time to take the temperature of a project, group or situation, to gather all the information and then take even more time to come up with a sound strategy that feels right; and even more time to run it by some players. Then and only then you start acting.
Of course, most people (especially women) find taking all that time unbearable, so they push themselves to act without having all the information and criteria needed. Then they go around making bad decisions that need to be corrected. They end up spending more time and creating stress.
Finally, pushing can take the form of not valuing your work; so that you complicate it and try to do more and more because you feel that it is not enough. Perhaps you push yourself to beat the competition instead of focusing on your unique value and positioning yourself strategically to attract those clients more suitable for your style.
This is a series of 6 articles.
Next Tuesday: Day 2: Rushing
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