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Entries in stress (11)


To Be Happy Be In The Right Ring-Right Now!

A study undertaken by two Harvard researchers found that 47% of the time, people are thinking about something else other than what they are doing-and that this wandering of the mind makes them unhappy. That's probably not news to you with all the distractions that infiltrate every moment of our day, but the source of the biggest distraction might surprise you-it's our emotions.

Frustration about something that happened yesterday with a co-worker or family member or simply worrying about the task in front of you was found to be the most significant reason for this wandering of the mind.

The "aha" for all of us should be that if we feel the emotional drain pulling at us, we should find the source, and when the opportunity is created to address it, we should do everything possible to work through it. Failing to do so is like trying to be in two rings of your circus at once-and we know that doesn't create stellar results in either one.

You can read more about the study discussed in the USA Today by clicking here.


You Must Find Some Pain!

One of the many "aha" moments in the Juggling Elephants training program comes when we discuss the need to stop juggling elephants-that is, to stop working from the mindset that everything can get done. We then work with the individuals on finding the "pain" associated with attempting the juggling elephants routine on a daily basis. Some potential answers include:

  • Reduced productivity
  • Lack of sense of accomplishment
  • Physical stress
  • Mental distraction
  • Isolation from friends/family
Few of us are willing to change unless we find a source of pain that is so prominent we seek a better way. If you are struggling with the juggling elephants routine today, what's the pain you can identify that would drive you to seek the solutions offered by the perspective of the circus?


Measuring The "Well Being" Of Your Circus

We often ask "how's your circus?" when helping people get a picture of their current situation. While doing some research, we found one another way to evaluate your circus. It's called the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index. It's a daily assessment of American's health and well-being. They poll 1000 people every day on 55 indicators of happiness or well-being from work to eating habits to social life. The site can be a bit overwhelming, but the data is interesting to review. If you want a quick synopsis of the results, a good blog to read is in the Economix section of the NY Times from a few weeks ago.

If you review the indicators, the big question you will be left with is, "What are the indicators for me that things are going well?" If you find that the indicators are constantly changing for you, it might be a sign that you have become a little fuzzy about your purpose. If the indicators tend to be the same, you most likely have a better idea of what you are striving for on a daily basis. The level of satisfaction with the various indicators will change, but not the indicators.

The next time you're trying to get a better idea of how things are going in your circus, it might be of benefit to first stop and ask what you are basing your answers on.


Pushing Yourself

I have a pretty good routine of getting up in the morning and going to the gym 4-5 times per week. It is a great time for me to get the blood pumping. I try to do 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight training. I am not saying that I am in great shape but I feel like I am doing pretty least until last weekend.

I went on an "intermission" to a mountain cabin. The only catch with visiting this cabin is that in the winter you have to walk about 200 yards off the main road, uphill, through the snow to reach the cabin. This also includes carrying any clothes, food and other essentials that you are going to use during your stay. We arrived at the parking lot late (just as it was getting dark) and started up hill with a cooler full of food plus a bag of clothes and essentials. We soon found the snow to be quite deep and because of a recent warming trend, very soft. This meant that with almost every step you would sink "thigh high" in snow. This is too long of a story to get the point across, but suffice it to say, by the time we reached the cabin, I thought I was going to die! My heart was pounding, I was soaked with sweat and 24 hours later it was impossible to move because my muscles were so sore.

What had happened to all of my exercise and weight training? Wasn't I in "good" shape? I reflected on my strolls on the elliptical machine and the rides on the stationary bike. It seems that they didn't prepare me for the exertion of climbing up the mountain. I realized that my routine at the gym was not pushing and strengthening me anymore and that I had reached a plateau.

What about your self, work and your relationship rings? Are you just maintaining and doing the minimal in your relationships to just get by? Maybe you are not even maintaining (being a couch potato). What happens when difficult times come along at work and you are expected to dig in and exert yourself? Will you be prepared? You need to stretch and push and improve your skills, muscles and mind. Life in not about maintenance-it is about improvement. How will you improve? No pain, no gain!


Lasting Failure or Temporary Defeat?

Are your mistakes a lasting failure or a temporary defeat? When you attempt something and fall short, do you look at the situation as a chance to improve or an excuse to "throw the towel in" and get worse?

Looking positively at a temporary defeat will help you to improve, develop solutions and ultimately become stronger. You will experience setbacks in life. Successful people are those that recognize the failure, rise up from the defeat, reevaluate their performance and then do what it takes to change and win.

When you look at tough times as an opportunity to learn and grow then you will look back and see failures that lead to success instead of failures that lead to ... well ... failure.