The experts are wrong, we need stress and pressure!
Stress and pressure are good for us. I know this sounds like a masochistic way of thinking or a phase from the struggle and hustle pornographer influencers of Gary V and the likes but it’s very true!
Your doctor tells you that you need to reduce the stress in your life and while he or she means well, it’s not the best advice. See if you fellow entrepreneurs have heard this one before, “You need to relax, take some time off and relieve the stress in your life.” I know… I have heard this many times and it doesn’t come from the people you might think like your spouse. This advice comes from outside your home or people that don’t know your master plan.
Stress and pressure are good for us because it pushes us to perform at our best when we least expect it. Out of nowhere, you get hit with a super stressful, high-pressure situation and without thinking about it, a second nature reaction of ultimate genius kicks you into your zone of being the best and being unstoppable! This is the moment that will define you and demonstrates to the world what you are made of. How much can you take? How far are you willing to go? And what can you endure to stabilize the situation or take it even further? This is not school where you are taught the lesson and then given the test in the comfort of a classroom, this is real life and the test comes first! You will more than likely fail but you know that after this test-failure, the lessons will soon begin and you will be the master of it the next time this situation hits.
I know that I have family members that are concerned about me and the stress and pressure in my life that is in… reality – self-inflicted. They worry about me, my health and they don’t want to see me fail and I know that comes from a place of love and compassion for me. But what most people don’t understand about the self-doers of the world like me is, we actually welcome the failures! Yes, I said that right, we welcome the failures and the stress that comes with it. Let me give you this example: have you ever seen someone that just knows what to do all the time in any given situation. They seem like they are always making the right decisions and everything they touch turns to gold? You know this person but what you may not know about them is they have endured countless amounts of catastrophic failure time and time again. Just because they are successful doesn’t mean they were immune to the failures of life and business. The reason they look so good to you is that they have gotten much better at handling the failures, the stress and the pressure of it all out of sheer experience and repetition.
Self-applied stress and pressure make us better in so many ways and it doesn’t stop even after we achieve a level of greatness. Think about this phrase: “Anyone can make it to the top but not anyone can make it at the top” What this means is that its relatively easy for most anyone to excel to the top of their game, life or business but its human nature to relax and take a sigh of relief once we get there and rest on our laurels with a Champaign soaked T-shirt. Think about how you feel when you see Tom Brady win a Superbowl. Most people think that he will fly back to his home town and be the grand marshal of the victory parade and then go home and enjoy his millions until spring training! That’s not the reality! While he will participate in the parade, afterward he goes home to start putting pressure on his mind and body for his next Superbowl ring, Immediately!!! And without being told to by a coach or an owner. Only the very best at what they do get a charge of energy once they have reached the top and immediately go into the planning stages of what it’s going to take to stay at the top or even go higher! This is the insatiable hunger for achievement that only a select few ever experience. Skip the party and go straight to the gym or the drawing board and start strategizing for the biggest win of all, your unbending will to never be satisfied with just being the best! I always say, “Once you’re in the lead, step on the gas!!!”
I know that all the experts tell us that unnecessary stress and pressure is not good for us. It’s bad for the heart, it causes high blood pressure and can lead to long term health problems but here’s the funny thing- I have never felt more alive than when I hit that winning moment of a high-pressure, high-stress situation. It’s like an internal “winning shot” at the last minute and you are the hero! Sometimes when things are getting a little stale and there’s no action in my life, I’ll pick one of my bills and just stop paying it! I have the money and I can pay it with ease but I just stop sending them money. I’ll go 3 or 4 months without paying a certain bill like the phone (landline) or power bill just to see how long it takes for them to call me. Once they have called and left a few messages to call them back, I sit down and call them. Then I start my negotiating. I negotiate with the company until I have gotten them to drop all the late charges and then I pay the bill in full! I have done this several times just for fun and there has never been a time when they don’t drop the late fees and it’s never hit my credit report! It’s a game and I love the pressure and the stress it creates. I’m just getting better at negotiating and I’m honing my salesmanship skills at literally no cost to me.
I was telling my Brother-in-law once that I no longer liked the business I was in and I was thinking about selling it. He asked me why I didn’t like it anymore. I gave him a made-up line about how I was tired of the crap or something like that but the truth of the matter, and what I didn’t tell him, is… there’s no one left to beat! My company is the best at what we do and we’ve essentially topped-out as far as competition. There is no one challenging me, there’s no one pushing me and working against me trying to beat me! I once called a competitor that just went out of business and I begged him to stay in the game not just because I liked the guy (and I did) but because I liked beating him! No stress, no pressure and no one to play with!
Without stress and pressure, we just exist. We’ve put all our efforts into removing stress and pressure out of our lives and seeking security and comfort that we lose our instincts to compete. We are never getting better and we are never upping our game to be even better than we were yesterday. I have been through a lot of tough times and I guarantee I’ve been broke more times than you but the stress and the pressure of those situations have made me amazing! That amazing moment is why I apply stress and pressure to myself, to get that winning feeling again. Something a lot of people don’t know is that winning is habitual. Even when you lose the game or fail at something, the drive to become better is consuming. I will never fail at what I failed at before because there is no such thing as failure. There are only circumstances and situations that need to be dealt with! I call this, “win when you’re winning and win when you’re losing.” This makes you unbeatable because you never fail. When someone tells you that you failed at something, what they really meant to say is, “If that were me, I would feel like a failure.” Habitual winning makes the failures and the work to get there seem irrelevant and you hardly notice it. You have such a drug addiction-like need for the end result that nothing that you went through is even felt. Someone that failed at business and closed up shop or someone who couldn’t make the team didn’t have an addiction for winning and a need for the end results.
Apply some self-directed pressure and stress to your life and feel the ebb of the ending once you have won the battle and then get back to work to repeat that feeling. It’s an incredibly exhilarating feeling and you just might get to meet the “other you.” That person inside you that has instincts and a feel for a room with the 6th and 7th senses heightened like a bloodthirsty predator. Try putting a bootheel on the throat of a competitor like a gladiator and then help him up like the sophisticated King you are! Or… don’t help him up, CRUSH HIM!!! I never said being successful was also being a model citizen. A King never lies down in the face of adversity or under stress or pressure. He seizes the opportunity and the initiative to achieve greatness at that very moment.
Daniel J Bockman