Today’s post derives from a lesson I learned from Professor Rao, whose class I took in business school and whose lessons I’ve written about often here. I’d try to improve on it, but he did a great job of it.
His book mentioned that all the stress in your life comes from one place. I remember reading that concept thinking, “how can that possibly happen? I have so much stress coming from so many places. How can he suggest there be only one source?”
Then I read the source and it made a lot of sense. In fact, it became a cornerstone in developing my model and general sense of self-awareness. It’s helped reduce the amount of stress in my life and replace it with awareness. I’m surprised I haven’t written about it yet.
Here is the source of all stress in your life:
The source of all stress in your life: You want the world to be one way and it’s not.
He illustrates the perspective by pointing out some time you’ve felt no or almost no stress, if I remember right. Consider a time looking at a beautiful sunset or rainbow. Looking at it, you never felt “everything is so beautiful, almost perfect. If only that cloud over there were just a few feet to the right.”
On the contrary, you appreciate it for what it is.
I’m not saying stress is bad. If you have a passion to change the world, maybe to make it a better place by what you consider better, it means you don’t like the world as you see it. Stress motivates you. Whether you want to get things done that are important to you or not be affected by things unimportant to you, knowing the difference between how you perceive things and how you want them to be tells you what you need to know about what’s causing you stress.
Knowing its cause isn’t the only route to decreasing stress, but it helps. If you don’t know the cause, you won’t understand yourself as well, meaning you won’t know what to do about it. If you know the cause you have some hope of decreasing the amount of stress in your life consistently and reliably.