When Things are the Most Stressful | 100 Days of Paying it Forward [Day 10]

For the next 91 days, my goal is to publish 1 video per-day that might help people where I am from (or who are from places, like where I’m from) see that they can do whatever they set their mind to in this life.

In my 10th video (!!), I want to touch on the topic of managing stressful situations. Specifically, in my experience, the more stressful the situation the more you need to be calm, cool, collected and smooth… Not because I am some sort of Zen-centered guru, but because I am fascinated by the brain and I know that when the brain is managing a stressful situation (chemically) it can only process one thing at a time… And I don’t know about you but when I am in stressful situations I want to get out of them as quickly as I can, so I prioritize finding a way out as quickly as I can instead of letting the stress control my brain.

Think of it like this:

When you pull your headphones out of your pocket, they’re all tangled up. Inevitably, that is the moment when someone calls and you need to answer (or) your ride comes to pick you up (or) any number of other things that immediately tell you: “Better get those headphones untangled quickly!”

If you’re like me, the natural response to this situation is to spaz out and pull at the headphone cords which only makes them more tightly combined, and in turn makes it even more difficult to get out of that situation. Which only makes me spaz out more. Knowing this (and knowing that I am predisposed to freaking out) over the years in advertising I have learned that when things become acutely stressful, THAT IS THE MOMENT where you need to be slow, calm, and smooth — even if it seems like you might be wasting time — because ultimately, your brain will focus on finding the shortest answer to your problem when you’re not also basically screaming at it.

This situation isn’t different for a job — whether you’re a boss or an employee, we’ve all been in positions where things become stressful and we need to figure something out and our first instinct is to snap and be aggressive, which only makes matters worse — or for being a parent, or in being in a relationship… Always, the answer is to be slower and more deliberate and find your way out after a deep breath.

I bring all of this up today because I was reminded earlier this morning how little control I have over things (I was cruising along until 3 vases of flowers smashed all over lol) and I had a moment where I had to choose whether I would lose my mind or take a deep breath and get out of that spot… And thankfully because I’m so used to being in tight spots, I made it out ok J

I wanted to share that process with you (anyone) in case you find yourself in a stressful spot soon, so that hopefully you can just get out of it quickly too. Hope it helps!

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Robert is the Founder of Nice Tattoo Parlor. Robert has worked in startups, advertising and brand-building in senior roles for nearly 10 years. Most recently, Robert was VP of Operations at Vox Media where he developed their native revenue strategy and oversaw video. Prior to Vox Media, Robert re-launched Global Grind for Russell Simmons (Acquired by iOne), helped re-launch Shape Magazine for AMI (Acquired by Meredith), and before all this re-launching, started Glassbooth.org and IHadCancer.com while working as a lawyer and advertising exec (shouts to Squeaky) respectively