This can be a tough conversation with an employee or a friend or some overdue task that just seems to accumulate stress. I know I used to approach difficult situations with trepidation and hesitancy instead of tackling them front on. However, some people often practice these type of tasks daily.
Our brains are neurologically set so that it is difficult to take action until we feel some sort of stress and discomfort. The difference is that successful people practice this type of stress and discomfort on a day to day basis, only they call it something different. They call it eustress.
What is eustress I hear you asking?
Eustress is defined as:
Beneficial stress—either psychological, physical (e.g. exercise), or biochemical/radiological (hormesis).
This type of stress and discomfort allows successful people to see obstacles as opportunities, failures as learnings and setbacks as a chance to start again. I will show you the three practices I use and many others that will make you uncomfortable but teach you to perform outside of the norm.
1. Successful people have morning rituals
If you’re not a morning person it is time to practice getting up and creating a routine. By allowing yourself to wake up earlier before the notifications start coming in and tasks you have left over from yesterday start hitting you, you can give yourself an important head start.
Get up an hour earlier before you’re needed anywhere. This extra preparation time gives you the ability to go through the appropriate mental tasks to focus on what is important instead of manically following one activity to the next.
Use the extra time to meditate, meditation is incredibly powerful for your brain. A number of studies have shown increases in brain density for focus, problem solving and mental flexibility. If you’ve ever lost your temper or felt frustrated by menial tasks this is a skill well worth practicing that will only take minutes in the morning but give you extra hours in the day.
Over 95% of the millionaires and success stories I’ve spoken with or interviewed all have some form of a morning ritual. It’s time to start your own.
2. Talk to those you don’t know and practice being uncomfortable
If you’re like a majority of people in this world than the thought of talking to a stranger is a terrifying task. It has the opportunity to make both parties uncomfortable and anxious. However, on the other side of that coin, it gives you the ability to create opportunities and make new connections at will.
The idea with this task is to practice being comfortable with the idea of rejection. Most successful people view rejection as an opportunity to reappraise their efforts with what they did wrong and look at it as something that is fixable. If I start a conversation with someone I don’t know I look at the outcomes if I didn’t speak to that person:
a) If I don’t talk to this person what opportunity and interesting story could I miss out on
b) This could be my friend, business partner or valuable connection who could help me expand my knowledge and skills
The worst case scenario is that they don’t converse with you – their loss, you’re awesome and you need to remember that. Funnily enough, once someone doesn’t respond to you, the next time it happens it won’t be as difficult.
Successful individuals will practice this task so that won’t be deterred when it matters. Your first pitch to an investor fails? Who cares, you now have the resilience from practicing being in uncomfortable situations.
Practice being uncomfortable and remember rejection and failure are an opportunity to start again, this time more intelligently.
3. Say NO and stop putting off difficult tasks
No is a word that too many of us look at with a negative connotation. Don’t use maybe’s and start practicing no, those who are consistently saying yes fail to honor existing commitments and add stress to those situations because you’ve taken on more than you can chew.
The best way to approach this is to turn down the first request that triggers a negative thought from you. You will save yourself the stress of having to fulfill that request but you will also have practiced this skill for when it matters most. Once you’ve nailed the word no, you give yourself the opportunity to free your time for the other more important tasks that need to be completed.
The next step is to stop putting off difficult tasks. The issues that cause me the most stress, create the biggest tax on my cognitive abilities and productivity but they are also often the ones I previously to put off the most. These type of situations often involve relationships, money or have the chance of hurting someone, however leaving them until tomorrow won’t help.
It is best to start sooner rather than later and solve these problems. The approach you can use is to take action immediately and outline the expectations of all parties involved. If both parties have expressed the desired outcomes for your resolution you now have a guideline for how to take action and resolve the issue. Successful people often do this before things get out of hand saving them a headache that these problems often bring.
We all know what happens when we leave a problem unchecked for too long and the results are often worse than if we had sorted them out long before this time. Don’t wait and act now.
How to use this advice?
You can start practicing any of these tasks at any time. Start small and work your way up.
- Start by setting your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier each morning for a week. If you want to look at some healthy breakfast recipes with your morning you can find them here.
- Talk to a stranger in a common location, if you go to the gym talk to a stranger at the gym. You both have exercise and health in common. If that is too much, email me – we’re strangers but we will have this article in common.
- If you see an issue arising and it is going to get out of control step in there and then, don’t wait for it to blow out of proportion.
Finally, success is what you make of it but I promise you from experience, I’ve learned the most from my failures and practicing being outside my comfort zone. Nobody has achieved great things when they’re comfortable so start practicing being uncomfortable.