In an interview in 2016, when asked what it is like to run Apple, CEO, Tim Cook, said, “It’s sort of a lonely job.”
It’s no secret that once you are successful the going gets tougher, and it becomes lonely at the top.
Life has stress – work, relationships, health, finances – the list never ends. Nowadays, people are also stressed because of increasing competition and the want for recognition. This means constantly working goals, without losing focus. It’s more like a marathon than a race.
And it doesn’t end with reaching the finish line. Managing all that, while still having a life, indulging in hobbies, keeping up-to-date with global issues, socialising, getting enough sleep, and finally having some ‘me’ time, can be overwhelming.
We often think that getting to the top means we are expected to do more than everyone else in the same 24 hours. We are programmed to think that way. As a result, in the course of my travels, I often come across entrepreneurs and professionals who share their concerns about managing their personal well-being, along with all the uncertainties of running their business. I have also come across founders who have shut down their startups. All this can be unnerving and lead to distress.
How to address the state of our emotional well-being instead of burying it deep within our minds? This is the domain of the heart, the seat of our emotions, and the way to self-mastery of our emotions.
Here are ways how most successful people manage stress:
It is scientifically proven that reading has a relaxing effect on the body. It lowers the pulse and eases tension in our muscles. In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, UK, reading can reduce stress by 68 percent.
It works better than listening to music or sipping a hot cup of herbal tea.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., says that he reads every day before bed – no matter how late it is. He lives by the advice of Warren Buffet, an American businessman and Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, of boiling things down, to work on the things that really count and to think through the basics. In fact, Warren Buffet himself is known to spend at least five hours every day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.
Tuning out the noise
If we listen to everything that everyone has to say, we are bound to be extremely stressed. An effective way to deal with stress is tune out all the background white noise and focus on the positive things of life.
While receiving an honorary degree from the University of Glasglow, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc, said, “In today’s environment, the world is full of cynics and you have to tune them out. Because if not, they become a cancer in your mind, in your thinking, and you begin thinking that you can’t or that life is negative”.
Learning something new
After a long, stressful day at work, a great way to let go of all the headache and tension is to indulge in learning something new – probably some form of art, or learning to play an instrument. Even learning about a new topic that’s completely different from your line of work – like studying about the history of some country when your job is that of a computer engineer – can help relieve stress.
Stress is often caused by the unexpected. Having a plan that’s flexible and can accommodate unexpected work, will not only keep stress at bay but also help you perform the task efficiently.
Most successful people either plan their week ahead or have days dedicated to certain kinds of work. While the latter works for times when you only have a fixed routine, the former is more effective.
Planning the week ahead will not only help prioritise your work but will leave you with some free time if nothing unplanned turns out, allowing you to indulge in your hobbies.
While it’s always good to plan, it’s important to be flexible enough to adapt and change the plan when needed, re-prioritising in the moment. Acceptance and adaptability are key.
Last but never the least, meditation has miraculous powers.
Spending a few minutes at the start of the day, distilling the essence of thought from scattered, chaotic multi-directional thinking to effortless single-pointed thinking, is itself a wonderful skill.
But that is only the beginning! This ability to focus becomes a springboard to dive into the heart connecting with the world of feeling, and an even deeper consciousness of being.
Meditating on the heart hones and refines the mind so that it becomes a useful instrument for life.
And let’s face it, attention is what is constantly being hacked in our digital age. Managing attention has become more vital than managing time. Through meditation we regain mastery over attention, and that is a great gift.
Most successful people, including Oprah Winfrey, Russell Simmons, Jeff Weiner, and Hugh Jackman, meditate regularly. Meditation not only increases productivity but also keeps stress at bay.
And Heartfulness Meditation helps us feel lighter and listen to the heart’s guidance – our radar to navigate all the ups and downs of life.
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