If you want success but you don’t want stress, chances are you will never be successful.
What does success look like to you? Success looks like different things to different people, but generally, everyone thinks of success as some magical point in the future when they’ve achieved everything they set out to accomplish. It’s the moment they can sit back, exhale, and watch their stress float away with the wind.
ZigZiglar once said, “Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.” I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is no magical point in the distance where your stress disappears. There’s always another goal or responsibility to follow once you’ve reached a milestone.
While independence, financial freedom, and traveling are all great goals to strive for, sometimes, our goals are more elusive than we anticipate. For example:
- Up to 60% of retirees return to work within 10 years of leaving their jobs.
- Self-employed people tend to retire 3 to 5 years later than their employed counterparts.
- Two-thirds of parents over 50 reported that they had recently financially supported at least one of their children.
- Retired seniors experience high rates of social isolation that can lead to mental health issues, substance abuse, elder abuse, reduced social skills, and increased susceptibility to financial fraud.
- The vast majority of people are no happier after a vacation than they were before, usually because of vacation-related stress.
All this is not to say that you shouldn’t strive for success. You should. But striving for a stress-free life is not the same thing as striving for success.
Is Stress Inevitable?
Stress is what your body feels when you experience physical, social, or emotional pressure. Anyone who has goals feels stress. Too much stress is, of course, bad for you, but life would feel pretty empty without any hopes, plans or dreams for the future.
Stress motivates us. Without stress over getting in trouble with the boss, employees wouldn’t be very productive. Without stress over their children developing normally, parents wouldn’t be very motivated to promote reading over watching TV. Without the stress of getting caught by the police, criminals wouldn’t be deterred from committing crimes.
Sometimes, stress is imposed upon us, and sometimes we impose it on ourselves.
At work, our stress is almost always imposed by an authority figure, but at home, we set our own goals. In the parenting example above, some of the stress parents feel is imposed by the school system or by a society that may judge parents if their child can’t read. But parents may also put pressure on themselves to be “good” parents in their own eyes or the eyes of their children.
Ultimately, good stresses encourage us to be better people and productive citizens.
Stress can be bad, too. Many people experience undue pressure as a result of circumstances out of their control, such as poverty, homelessness, abuse, medical issues, family and relationship issues, and the like.
Too much bad stress can cause mental health issues, not to mention many negative physical symptoms, like heart and respiratory diseases.
Perhaps, instead of defining success as that magical moment in the future where we no longer feel stress, we should define it as the everyday moments that bring us closer to the physical, financial, and emotional freedom we desire. Success, after all, is within our reach every day if we set reasonable goals and work hard to achieve them.
Try these tricks to be more successful and less stressed every day:
- Before you go to bed at night, write a list of things you still need to do, whether tomorrow or over the next few days. This will help you sleep better because you won’t worry about forgetting something.
- In the morning, at the earliest opportunity, pick at least one item from that list to do today.
- While having a long-term vision for success is important, focus instead on short-term goals that are realistic and achievable today, this week, or this month, and that gradually bring you closer to your long-term goal.
- Be mindful of your stress levels and be flexible. You should be able to modify your goals as needed to avoid overload or burnout
In the end, you don’t want to let your goals get in the way of spending time with the people who are important to you. It’s good for you — and for them — to take a time out and enjoy a few stress-free hours while you can. In those moments, surrounded by your family and friends, you may realize that success has already found you.
Do you also feel stressed in life? Leave your thoughts/experiences below in the comments section. Also do not forget to subscribe with us and stay tuned!