How to Have More Control and Less Stress
On your road to success, you can sometimes feel overwhelmed and out of control.
For example, you are not making enough money to pay your bills. Maybe your work is not going very well. You feel desperate. You cannot relax.
As another example, you want to succeed as a parent. You want your children to grow up to be happy, healthy and valuable to society. But your kids won't talk to you. Your son is failing in school and your daughter is dating a gangster. You feel angry or confused.
When your work is stressful, you are not in control of something. Perhaps people push you around. Maybe you have doubts about what you do. You probably worry about disasters.
So instead of continuing to be overwhelmed, you can make one simple change to turn things around.
"A WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR CONTROL OR ANOTHER'S IS TO DO IT ON A GRADIENT*." -- L. Ron Hubbard (gradient: a series of steps that gradually increase in size or difficulty)
Simple, obvious and powerful! Instead of trying to control the entire problem, you select one small part of the problem and take control of it.
For example, if you wish to fly an airplane, you do not sit in the cockpit, start the engine and head down the runway. You would lose control. Instead, you do it on a gradient.
You watch someone else fly the plane. You flip one switch for the pilot. You use a simulator. You control small pieces and then larger pieces of the plane. Eventually, you can fly an airplane.
Any difficulty you face can be controlled, if you use gradient steps.
You can increase your control of difficult people. For example, let's say your office manager is a bully. He likes to criticize you. He blows up at the strangest times. He screams at anyone who crosses him. You are afraid to confront him.
So to take control of this bully, you control one small thing. "Excuse me Joe, will you hand me the Peterson file? Thanks."
Perhaps you control a few other small things, such as controlling his hand by handing him a pen. "Here's your pen Joe."
Later, you control a slightly larger thing. "Joe, can we talk about this in five minutes? Thanks." You are increasing the gradient of difficulty. "If you don't mind, can we talk about the Petersons now? Great."
Next, you control one of the office manager's angry outbursts. Joe says, "You stupid idiot! How many times do I need to tell you to call John Peterson?" You say, "Do you want me to be afraid of you or tell you the news about John Peterson?" Joe calms down.
You may not control Joe every time you try, but you soon control him more often than you do not control him. Everyone in the office admires how you can handle Joe, including Joe. You are taking control of him on a gradual, gradient basis.
You cannot actually "do a project." You can only do one action step within a project. If you do enough action steps, you finish the project.
If you feel frustrated because you cannot reach a goal or finish a project, you need to look at the smaller picture. You must focus on one single step you can control now.
Let's say you want to double your income. You write down, "Goal: Double My Income." You then clench your fists and say, "I'm going to get out there now and make more money!" But then you feel overwhelmed. Your gradient is too steep.
Instead, pick one step of the project and control it.
For example, you organize your bills. You make a list of potential income sources. You make five sales calls. You work as fast as you can for one hour. You learn a new skill.
You just take control of one step at a time.
1. Write down three difficulties in your life.
2. For each difficulty, figure out one action step that you can control.
3. Take control of this one piece and get it done.
4. Repeat step 1-3 until you feel in control.
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