Unwanted Stress

A great deal of our stress comes from others – they feel it, express it and we soak it up like a sponge and carry it around until for our own sanity we have to squeeze it out.

In other words, if you could not absorb the stress that others feel (those close to us, related to us or in our path), we would reduce life’s stressor and have a better chance to deal with our own.

By prioritizing a reasonable number of things that make us anxious and deciding which ones to handle first.

And there are tools – scheduling all worries for one specific hour, one day a week keeping the rest of your life relatively stress-free.

Remembering that 99% of what we worry about never happens and the 1% that does usually doesn’t happen the way we fear.

But the big deal is resisting the stress in our lives generated by others.

Time Blurring

“If you’re inclined to report that time is dragging, my life is vanishing, maybe the thing to do is simply try to inject more distinctive or unique experiences into it…then there’s more in your story to tell and it’s not slipping through your fingers.”  — Dr. Ian Phillips of Johns Hopkins

Downsizing Depression

A new Ohio State study confirms acts of kindness toward others has a positive effect on anxiety and depression.

It gets our minds off negative thoughts and keeps us connected with other people.

Doing kind deeds and fixating on the needs of others turns out to be an effective non-medicinal approach compared to focusing on our problems or unhappiness.

An act of kindness is defined as “big or small acts that benefit others or make others happy, typically at some cost to you in terms of time or resources.”

When to Take a Pay Cut

Never, unless you are the head of a company asking others to do so.

Apple CEO Tim Cook who without a doubt makes a ton of money, just asked to have his salary slashed by $35 million – that’s not nothing.

Did I mentioned he asked for the pay cut?

In radio, for example not one CEO has asked for a pay cut even though they routinely conduct layoffs and firings in essence losing the goodwill of the remaining employees.

One CEO, Emmis Communications’ Jeff Smulyan did during extremely hard times and his employees love him for it.

The leader makes the most money so the ones who are willing to make the biggest sacrifice wins the enthusiastic cooperation of those working below them.

The Perfect Apology

I’m sorry.

Not “sorry IF I offended you”

Plus the specific reason why.

And what I will do to make it right.

Recently a CEO of a startup told 35,544 customers he was sorry for badly packaged, late delivery of squeezable bottles of olive oil.

He was thanked for his honesty, some even declined to take advantage of his make-up discount saying they’d buy again at the full price as a result of the apology.

Humans make mistakes, what’s wrong with a heartfelt apology?

But apologizing for the same thing over and over usually backfires even if the apology is perfect.

The Benefit of 5% More Resilience

Scientific studies of the brain show that improving psychological resilience just 5% can lower risk of mental health issues by 15%.

That means even addressing mental health strengthening delivers triple the benefits.

Adults and especially young people are suffering from anxiety, stress and depression at a high rate – in fact, it has become an epidemic.

To get there focus on small victories that offer immediate reward and gratification.

The Danger of “Cheer Up”

“Positive reframing” – what we do when we remind people to be grateful and look on the bright side may actually be making things worse.

Inspired by a recent article by David Brooks, it’s better to “hear, respect and love the person” – to show you haven’t given up on them or walked away.

That is powerful stuff not only for those suffering from discouragement or even depression but for those of us looking for the right words to a help support a friend.

You Win or You Learn

Those are the words of the losing Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts who led his team to an unlikely storybook season that collapsed in the final half of the Super Bowl when they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“You either win or you learn,” Hurts said. “That’s how I feel. You either win or you learn. Win, lose, I always reflect on the things I could have done better, anything you could have done better to try and take that next step. That’ll be the same process I always have going on.”

The next sweetest victory is the one that comes from how you handle defeat today.


Today, assume everyone you work with will go on to be equally or more successful than you.

Assume you will work for them some day.

This is the formula of mutual respect that brings the best out of people, eliminates needless judging and avoids the urge to dismiss others who have yet to gain prominence.

Think the best about people because it is in your best interest.

Living for Approval

“When you’re living for the approval of strangers, and that is where you derive all of your joy and fulfillment, one bad thing can cause everything to crumble…when people decided I was wicked and evil and conniving and not a good person, that was the one I couldn’t bounce back from because my whole life was centered around it” – Taylor Swift

Your life is not an election.

No need to campaign for consensus.

Lead and let others follow.