Photo Courtesy: Neelaka

Photo Courtesy: Neelaka

Are relentless schedules, unceasing demands, and suffocating responsibilities making you feel like you are losing your mind?

Well here are a couple of simple tricks you can use to speed up the process:

1. Lose your sense of perspective. Ignore the bigger picture, and focus just on your immediate situation.

2. Take everything way to seriously – especially yourself. Become more rigid in your thinking, and whatever you do – do not laugh at yourself or your situation.

3. Blame others for not taking more responsibility for your success and happiness.

It is a very simple, effective recipe with guaranteed results.

If on the other hand, you’d like to get your cheese back up on the cracker and dip that other oar back in the water, the following suggestions may help:

Selective Perspective

One of our most powerful human tools is the ability to look at things from a number of different angles (apparently a key benefit of the extra helping of gray-matter we were issued). Priceless insight can be gained by visualizing yourself in a variety of different roles, and by putting yourself in the position of others.

Breakthroughs are often triggered by turning situations and problems upside down, and by looking at them this way and that with fresh eyes.

Matters of Life & Death

Unless you are a fireman, soldier, police officer, or airline pilot, the consequences of failure in your job probably won’t put you or your co-workers lives at risk. I don’t mean to imply that we don’t sometimes face painful consequences when we come up short, but we can almost always recover and move on (hopefully learning something along the way).

I was once interviewing a database administrator for a job in a high-tech start-up. He was a bit curmudgeonly and significantly older than me, as well as most of the twenty-something’s that populated our company. With unintentional arrogance and condescension, I informed him that we worked in a very dynamic, crazy, fast-paced, hair-on-fire environment, and asked if that would be a problem for him.

He smiled and replied that he was a Vietnam Vet and continued, saying that “after you have been shot at and had lots of people trying to kill you for an extended period of time, software development and database management don’t really seem all that stressful.”

Ouch! I hate getting put in my place.

That lesson that has stuck with me for many years and helped me to realize that most of the seemingly “life and death” situations and decisions that we face, won’t even leave a ripple in our lives in the weeks, months, or years to come. If we remember them at all, it will probably be with a laugh.

Stop the Buck – And Bank It

Finally, take responsibility for everything. That’s right. Everything. I know, your mind is probably resisting –“but, but, but what about the things I have no control over?”

You always have control over two things: Your thoughts and your actions.

Look at it as a game – a game where you are trying to acquire as much personal power as possible. Crazy driver lighting your fuse? Take a few deep breaths, and move farther away from them. Another horrible world tragedy leaves you feeling helpless? Volunteer, donate, or take some other meaningful action. You always have control over your response.

Every time you feel victimized, powerless, angry, or put-upon, think about how you can change your thoughts and/or actions to take back the power and turn the situation to your advantage.

Using these three principles can inject a healthy dose of sanity into the madness that often seems to surround us.

On the other hand, there are still plenty of seats open on that train to Crazytown!