A recent conversation I had with a friend found us sharing some of the things that are causing stress in our lives. He said, “You sound perplexed.” Initially, I downplayed his diagnosis. But the word stuck in my head until I eventually looked it up since I didn’t know what it meant. “Perplex: to make unable to grasp something clearly or to think logically and decisively about something.” Hmm… Maybe not exactly what I had in mind but not far off. “Distracted,” maybe….
There is so much going on that it often is difficult to focus. I don’t know of anyone that’s not feeling some level of stress. People are commonly using words like frustrated, overwhelmed, “at wit’s end,” distraught, exhausted, and, at least in my case, perplexed. Can you relate to any of these?
I get overwhelmed with all sorts of information. I’ll bet you do, too. I get frustrated because 99% of it seems to go to waste, at least with me. Never in history have people received so much information as we do today, thanks to technology giving us so many ways to communicate. It’s probably only going to get worse. Let’s call it “noise.” Even if there is no sound, it’s a constant barrage of information intended to distract us and try to make us feel like we are missing something.
There is also a lot of worry and pessimism due to economic and political instability in the world around us. Instability in our lives leads to stress. However, instability is nothing new. Instability and uncertainty is, in fact, normal. When was the last time you were certain about your future?
Some people are more positive, or negative, but why is that? Does it have to do with their experiences or environment? Or is it a conscious decision they can control? Some of the most inspiring people have had traumatic experiences in their lives. Take John McCain, for example. The torture he experienced as a POW probably should have made him a very negative person. Instead he is positive and has since done many great things. Yet, some people who appear to have “life by the horns” can be very negative.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Are our attitudes shaped more by our experiences and environment, or more by how we react to our situation? Be creative in how you react to problems. As Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If something’s not working out for you try something different.
What worries you? If you allow, the worry stressors can be endless – like sand in a gravel pit. Dale Carnegie had great advice on how to handle worry. First, accept the worst. Ask yourself what is the worst possible outcome, and what will that mean to me? Give yourself time to accept that it could happen to prepare yourself mentally. After you have accepted the worst, then any outcome less than the worst will seem as a positive and less severe.
For better living, let’s every day learn to live with some negatives, but focus on positives. Learn to separate noise from what is important information. Greet each new day as an opportunity to improve. Be honest with ourselves with what exactly is causing stress in our lives. Learn to appreciate what we have instead of what we don’t have. And prove your value by being productive. I’m willing to bet by rehearsing these steps we’ll go a long way toward finding meaning, purpose, and happiness in our lives.
We have a lot going for us. We have a committed owner who has invested significantly (in people, office, shop, and equipment) for the continuance of this company. We have seasoned estimators who are committed to getting work. We have experienced supervisors who understand the challenges we face day in and day out. And we have you, the worker who gets the job done.
When I cut the clutter and focus on the upcoming season I gain confidence because we have proven time and time again when we all work together we get positive results.