My good friend, Doug Stewart, recently told a group of people the riveting story of the time in his life when he became homeless. In fact, it’s so gravitating, that even though I’ve heard him tell it to audiences several times over and over, the sheer life lesson principle inside it compelled me to share it further after hearing it again this past time.
His story goes like this…
“There was a brief time in my life when I was homeless. I wasn’t homeless before, and I’m thankfully not in that situation now.
This was an overwhelming time for me.
I was on my way to the airport to catch a flight to a very important meeting. This meeting was set with a person who represented an extremely important deal for my business. In fact, this deal would make or break everything for us.
I’m racing down the interstate towards my exit, and I’m already running really late to make it on time. My mind begins to race faster than my car with thoughts of, ‘Even if there were no traffic I’m still going to have to run to my gate once I make it through bag check, pass the ticket counter and TSA. Once past the security line, I’ll only have a few minutes before the gate closes. This is going to be close!’
I’m white-knuckling the steering wheel. My breathing picks up tempo quickly as I jerk my car to the right, then to the left to weave in and out of the slow moving traffic!
Then…just two exits away from the airport exit, traffic STOPS!
I’m stuck….in traffic…under one of those huge overpass bridges with the concrete rising up on both sides of the road. The kind where graffiti artist paint and homeless find shelter during storms.
My car is now at a complete stop, but my mind decides to keep on racing. Instead, now it’s racing even faster with thoughts of:
I’m going to miss my flight!
If I miss my flight, I’ll miss the very important meeting!
If I miss this meeting, then the major deal is off the table!
If the major deal is off the table, how am I going to pay my bills?!
How are we going to be able to survive?!
If I can’t provide for my family, then my wife will leave me!
If my wife leaves and I can’t afford anything, then I’ll be out on the streets!
If I’m going to be homeless, then I might as well just move into that cardboard box under the overpass bridge….
Dramatic I know. These were the thoughts racing through my mind as I swam in the overwhelming amount of self-induced stress.
I made my flight and thankfully never lived out the drama in my head. 😅
So what was the point of all that stress I put on myself?”
Each time I hear that story I, like the audience I’m sitting in, shake our heads sort of like “Yeah there was no point in putting all that self-induced stress on yourself dude.”
Yet when we are in that same driver seat of our own situations, we tend to overdramatize the situations in our heads much like a Hollywood Producer would a drama film.
Sometimes, when a series of things are stacked up against us, nothing seems to be going our way, everything is a challenge we become trapped in our own thinking.
Once trapped in our own thinking we go into Hollywood mode. We take our situation and we dramatize the “outcome” we think is going to unfold. It’s kind of romantic in a way to dramatize the CRAZY INSANE chain of events in our heads.
Let’s face it… We are the best Hollywood Producers in the world when it comes to our own situations.
And all that stress our dramatized film in our heads get’s us is NOT worth the health, time-consuming or relationship damage it brings along with it.
Mark Twain describes it best when he said,
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
So how do we stop this drama film production from going on our head once it begins?
Because it will indeed try it’s best to shape into an all-out action/drama film worthy of an Oscar Academy Award.
First! “Decide how much anxiety a thing is actually worth, and refuse to give it any more.” Dale Carnegie, (excerpt from Dale Carnegie Course)
Then! Try out the “3 Bucket Method” by placing that stressful thing inside one of three buckets:
Finally, give that stressful thing a percentage amount (1–100) representing how much mental and emotional energy it deserves from you. Give it no more than it deserves.
This puts you in a position to stay ahead of it. Above all, you are still in control.
Let’s decide to maintain that control by using the 3 Bucket Method.
Since we are the great Hollywood Producers of our own situations, how about we choose to produce a positive heroic film out of our situations instead. Ones where we defeat stress and worry’s commanding hold on us and save the day!
Cheers to your brilliant film-making abilities delivering the biggest impact on you and others around you!!
To Your Success,
Talent Development Specialist
Dale Carnegie Training