People often ask me why they feel so pressured to accomplish things. Often they cite the source of the pressure as being their boss or a colleague, and sometimes they can’t even recognize the source. I always ask them to examine their perspective before reaching a decision. Here’s just one reason why:
One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“It was great, Dad”.
“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.
“Oh yeah” said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father. The son answered: “I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.
We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”
The boy’s father was speechless.
Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”
Monday Morning Perspective
“What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” – Unknown
Much like the young boy and father in this story, every situation is open to multiple perspectives. How often do we place pressures on each other and ourselves that are unnecessary or overwhelming?
As a former gymnast, I can walk a six-inch balance beam forward, backward, with my eyes closed, and my hands tied behind my back. When I was a young girl learning to flip and tumble across a beam it was always on the floor. Only after I had mastered the skill there was I allowed to take it up to the “real” beam to execute. Keep in mind, the beam was the exact same size and the challenge was exactly the same. So why was it so much harder once the beam was elevated a few feet? The answer is simple: Perceived Pressure.
Now what if you suspended that beam across two tall buildings and asked me to traverse the gap? My heart would likely try to leap out of my chest. Even though the task itself is not any different and the skills required no greater, I would still feel an immense amount of added pressure. Why?
Because I’m human- and so are you. Sometimes we give ourselves more grief than we should. It’s ok to feel pressure. The trick is to understand why it exists in the first place. Are we creating it? Is someone else? How much is perceived and how much of it is real?
Only when we seek these answers will we be able to do what must be done to ensure our own success (as well as that of others). We have to acknowledge the pressure and its source, and then mentally dismiss it as being useless and unproductive. A mental decision to relax and carry on without the senseless pressure is often what it takes to go from good to great. Forget the cars below and the mental images of falling… Just walk the beam and get on with your day.
I challenge you to take control over your perceptions and to give yourself a break when the pressure is unnecessary.
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.