Practical Needs and Knows

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”

~ Hans Selye

What does it take to succeed? A positive attitude? Quite often, yes. But it also takes planning, action, the right choices, skills, and (in my opinion) an ability to manage stress.

There is an endless array of skills one can learn and in cases where success is desired – need. Here are three skills that you might find valuable:

  1. Decision-Making. The bridge that leads from gut feelings and analysis to action is effective decision-making; knowing what to do based on the information available. While not being critical can be dangerous, so too can over-analyzing or waiting for more information before making a decision. Taking in the situation, using an appropriate blend of intuition and logic, and acting – separates the doers from the wafflers.
  2. Research. Nobody can be expected to know everything or even a tiny fraction of everything. Even within your field, chances are there’s far more you don’t know that you do know. You don’t have to know everything but you ought to be able to quickly find out what you need to know. That means learning to use the internet effectively (based on your unique needs); learning how to leverage your network of contacts and; keeping abreast of the latest developments in your area of interest or specialty.
  3. Relaxation. Stress will not only kill you, it leads to poor decision-making, poor thinking, and poor socialization. Working yourself to death in order to keep up, and not creating time to enjoy the fruits of your work, isn’t “success.” It’s obsession. Being able to face the most pressing crises in a calm, rational manner is both productive and critically important. Think about this… how many times have you made poor decisions because you were less than relaxed when you made them?

Yet even when prepared, we don’t always make our best choices when caught by surprise. Here are three ways in which to respond to or act in stressful situations:

  • When you’ve been fired. Apply right away for unemployment benefits. The average unemployed person spends several months out of work and the older the individual, the longer the period. Oddly (according to the U.S. Labor Department), only about 80 percent of those who qualify for benefits file. Then enlist legal services if you feel your dismissal involves discrimination or breach of contract. But don’t threaten legal action before you’ve confirmed with an attorney that your case has legs. Almost always, cases are settled without trial.
  • When you get bad medical news. Put away your car keys. Unless you want to risk turning a health threat into an injury, don’t drive while you’re distraught. Instead, call someone to give you a ride. Then take a deep breath and think about what you heard in as logical a fashion as you can. Consider getting a second opinion. Think carefully about what information you want to share with others. To not tell means you don’t get support but to tell some people means you may be overwhelmed or inviting intrusive treatment.
  • When you lose your wallet. Close any financial accounts represented in your wallet. The longer you wait to report stolen credit cards, the more financial liability you will face if they are used fraudulently. Then contact one of the three consumer-reporting agencies to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. Ask you motor vehicle agency to flag your file so that if anyone tries to get a replacement ID in your name, the agency will know it is fraud. Advise all organizations (gyms, employers, etc.) you’re connected with that you’ve lost your cards.

As the title suggests, these are practical considerations and tips. Yet when practiced, they may help you to sleep more comfortably.

23 thoughts on “Practical Needs and Knows

  1. Thanks for very practical truths that many need to know. This is one that should be copied and filed to review when needed. Nice work! 🙂

    • What I chose to share was/is merely the tip of an iceberg tip. There are so many helpful ways in which to address stress, My intent was simply to create awareness around what stress can do and how we can manage it. Thank you for acknowledging the information’s practicality.

  2. Great post. It’s amazing how much time and energy we waste by “freaking out”. We need to channel that energy into solving the problem or tackling the issue. Worrying never solved anything.

    • iB, I agree with on all counts. Focused attention will almost always produce our intended or desired outcome. Yet many choose to do anything but ‘channel their energy.’ As one who used to worry about worrying, I appreciate your last sentence. 🙂

  3. Sound and useful advice as always – you practical genius you. (And incidentally, the guy sleeping in the bed in your last picture will need some of the tips if his duvet catches on fire!)

  4. I’ve often had to enforce the “no driving after bad medical news” suggestion. Before we give a dire prognosis, we insist that the patient is accompanied to the appointment, just as if they were having surgery or being drugged. Not only are they there for emotional support, they are there for the patient’s safety. Useful advice as always!

    • While understandably necessary, I don’t believe I’d relish being in a position to have to enforce such guidance. That line of work must be highly stressful. If the message resonates with some, then simple and useful advice it will remain.

  5. Excellent advice. I would just add that sometimes bad things happen in clusters. You lose your job, which puts added stress on your marriage, so you become ill and maybe your spouse leaves you etc, etc. If you have problems deal with them now and not when you are bobbing about on stormy seas in a lifeboat.

    • …and many of us have either dealt with or known others who have had little choice but to rise out of those “clusters.” Putting matters off rarely yields desired or optimal outcomes. To your recommendation, Malcolm, acting with clarity, in the now, can mitigate undesirable results.

  6. A very sound advice! Relaxation is vital to me. I take a lot of mental breaks at work, a timer every 30 minutes to move my eyes away from the computer to prevent fatigue. Thank you.

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