Today’s Prescription: Self-Applied Pressure in Moderation

“I’m really excited for my next article. I’m going to be very critical of myself.” I said.

“Don’t you see the irony in this? You’re being critical of yourself when you’re telling people not to be so critical,” rebuked Lauren.

Self-applied pressure gets in the way of your sense of accomplishment, ability to be grateful, productivity, and overall happiness. You can apply a healthy amount of pressure to push you to be better and to motivate you to accomplish tasks that are normally outside of your comfort zone. However, as Mark Twain wisely said, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

“I’m too hard on myself.”weight-off-my-shoulders

The past is the past. Today’s decisions are the only parts of life that you control. Yeah, if I read all of those books in high school and college, I would probably be more knowledgeable. If I did at least 100 crunches a day for the last ten years, my Buddha belly wouldn’t exist. Why fret about these things? Stressing about how you can be better, how you wish you had made different decisions, or how you aren’t doing enough can decrease your productivity and negatively affect your happiness.

Make a point to only concern yourself with today’s tasks and goals. But I don’t recommend participating in the “Y.O.L.O.” (You Only Live Once) culture of running around like there’s no tomorrow. Try to benefit your life today to positively influence your future.

  • How can you better your career and your personal life today?

Slow Down

My desire to succeed sometimes clouds my rational thinking because I feel like I always need to do more. The phrase, “there’s too much on my plate,” describes my recent behavior. This overwhelming feeling became so intense that I luckily remembered Ze Frank’s TED Talk that I watched over a year ago. Ze Frank discussed how he composed a song to calm someone’s anxiety who was dealing with the stresses of their new job. I found myself playing this song when I personally felt overwhelmed.

Ze Frank’s full TED Talk is at the end of this article and you’ll learn how his unique style connects people across the globe through his creative projects with a positive undertone.

I felt relaxation after listening to Ze Frank’s song and I took this as a sign. I consciously stepped on the brakes. This immediately made me breathe a sigh of relief and allowed me to recognize all the progress that I have made in my career and personal life.

  • Know when to scale back on extra projects.

Practice GratefulnessMy-Gratitude-Adjustment-Header

Here’s where you can put some healthy pressure on yourself: find ways to be grateful. My girlfriend and I ask each other before meals, “What are you grateful for?” We also try writing down three things we’re grateful for every night before bed. This exercise feels like a chore on the days that I’m a grump, but it’s a nice reminder to reflect on the positive aspects of my life. The most amusing part of this journal is to glance at previous entries.  It’s enjoyable to remember previous mindsets.

Another exercise that helps me remember the positive areas of my life is to create a document where you can list positive reflections, reviews, and commentary from loved ones, friends, colleagues, and others. I personally use an online program to input notes from my desktop, tablet, or phone. If a friend sends you a nice text message, document it.

  • Develop a routine to reflect on the positive aspects of your life. Stick to this routine!

high-fiveBe Proud

Look at your resumé. Notice your accomplishments. Recognize the people that feel like you positively influence their lives. You’re doing incredible things to benefit your life, your company, and the lives around you. Now just give yourself some credit and keep working toward your dreams. Your future is bright and your actions today pave the way.

Keep Moving Forward

When I sat down to read The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff, this quote below stood out to me. It reminds me to keep focused on the task at hand and move forward toward success in my career as well as my personal life.pooh

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, ‘There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.’”(Hoff, 67)[i]


[i] Hoff, Benjamin. The Tao of Pooh. New York, NY: Penguin, 1983. Print.

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