How can one be prepared for change and a faster paced world? Stress is more and more part of everyone’s life, are there any tricks and tips to decrease it? If you read my previous article Don’t worry, Be creative! you already know that I am not a fond of easy solutions and that I do not believe in miraculous rules for the “el dorado”. However, I do believe in key behaviors to a happier life and to better deal with stress and stressful situations. One of these key behaviors is the ability and wiliness to push barriers out by moving into unknown zones, also called moving out of the comfort zone. As human beings, we hate uncertainty and everything connected to it. For the last centuries we have tried to understand “everything” that can influence us and bring uncertainty. Though, the hugely true is that uncertainty cannot be neutralized, the best one can do is train and get enough experience to be prepared for it.
I do not have a miraculous solution to decrease stress and stressful situations. However, I believe in coaching people to be more tolerant to stress. Each person has different ways of facing stressful situation and different levels of resistance to stress although, my experience tells me that the better prepared one is the better one can face them.
How can one be prepared for stress? Well, I can give you my example and tell you a real story. A long time ago, during my summer vacations at the coast, my father use to do something very funny and curious. He used to let him be caught by the waves and be pushed under the water for an excruciating seconds. A very stressful situation, I must say. I remember asking: why are you doing that? To what he answered: “By doing this in a controlled and safe environment I am improving my natural capacities and being more prepared for the real thing: a moment where I will not be in control, a dangerous one” he told me. It makes sense. We use to spend 3 weeks of our summer vacation at the coast side, so he was teaching me how to deal with a dangerous situation if it ever happens (something that surfers and water sports practitioners also do). From that experience I have learned that is positive if I once in a while moved out of your comfort zone but that it should be in a safer environment where I could control uncertainty. The lessons learned from this episode helped me shaping the way I behave and face life. Why ? Well, by going out of my comfort zone once in a while I am getting use to stress and improved my capability to cope with stressful situations. In the end and because I am used to cope with stress and stressful situations I can mange time better, still calm and objective to decide, and act.
If one wants to be prepared for a faster paced world where change is constant and part of the game, one should train stress resistance and capacity to act in stressful situations. A good exercice is to push one’s limits by going out of the comfort zone. For example, trying something new or something one is afraid of in a controlled environment with less risk. In my opinion and experience, by doing this one is gaining new capabilities and competences to face the future better prepared.
Suggestion: how about “pushing” teenagers and adolescents outside of their comfort zones (appropriated for their age and capacities) along their education in school? I had that experience in Secondary school and also University, when I have to do a lot of teamwork and experience stressful situations in order to deliver the required paper or presentation.
Learning by doing help coping with stressful situation!