· 3 min read

Stress: kill it before it lays eggs

Driving with your eyes closed is less scary but at some point you’re gonna drive into a wall.

If we want to be calm entrepreneurs, learning to deal with the overwhelming responsibilities, tasks and people problems is one of our biggest priorities.

And I think our culture misses a key point.

You see, growing up, I learned to deal with my problems internally.

It’s great! It taught me to understand myself and I know what to do if I’m feeling bad.

But it also causes problems.

Because sometimes, it really is someone else who’s at fault. When that happened, usually I would still figure out what I could have done myself, shut up and just go on.

The trouble is, that conflict will keep coming back. And it will get worse every time.

It starts off like a little cute dragon in our minds.
Then we worry and the dragon grows.
(But it’s still cute)
Then the problem repeats, but we know what to do now. Meditate!
And before you know it, this dragon laid 7 eggs and it putting everything on fire.

Don’t meditate to relieve your stress.
Fix the problem that’s causing the stress.

It’s the same thing I was talking about the other day, saying “this is the last time you’ll have to worry about this.”

I hate the job of attaching invoices to my bookkeeping. So I can either:

  1. Ignore it, live with a nagging feeling of piling invoices, and spend an all-nighter the day before my tax deadline
  2. Make it nicer for myself by doing it monthly, treating myself with some delicious food and fun music while working
  3. Automatically forward all invoices from my e-mail so I don’t have to do this ever again

The sooner I set up the third step, the more peaceful I’ll be.

This works with interpersonal conflict too.

Parenting is a good example. Jordan Peterson said this elegantly: “Don’t let your children do things that make you dislike them.”

Too many parents let their children get away with “small” moments of unacceptable behavior.

Their little dragon makes a small stain with their cute fire breath.
It’s okay! Not that bad. I don’t need to say anything.
The behavior is reinforced.
They grow up and they breathe more and more fire.
Now the parent gets annoyed and pushes their dragon away (but doesn’t say much).
This gets worse, and worse, and worse until both erupt in fire and anger.

Now the child has to deal with an annoyed, angry parent and it has absolutely no clue why or what’s going on. The child gets stressed (because stress comes from a lack of clarity) and doesn’t develop their inner strength (because they feel they have no control over the world).

So you can go through that whole year-long fire-breathing situation.
Or take 5 seconds the first time, be clear and serious, and have the problem dealt with.
(Okay to be fair, with a kid you’ll have to do this another 60 times, but you get the point)

Now, I think…

Sometimes we need to raise adults as well.

Society devolves into darkness if we’re not willing to speak up against bad behavior. Even if the other is older, wiser and stronger than us.

And the quicker we do it, the easier the conversation, and the more stress we prevent. No need for 4-hour meditations if the dragon is gone.

Sure, some people will say you’re “overreacting.” That’s okay—they’re defensive because it’s uncomfortable for them too.

So drive with your eyes open.

And deal with problems when they’re just a tiny flicker on the horizon.

Over time you’ll learn to anticipate and driving becomes the calmest thing in the world.


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