An equation for us all to work on [ Stress=(Value*Responsibility)-Control ]

I had a wonderful conversation with a new friend while visiting with Meg Keys as she was working a shift at Red Lantern Bikes – a great combination bar/coffee/bike place…

We were talking about stress, and I was talking about how responsibility and control are tied together: responsibility without control is sort of the definition of what causes stress. Also, your perceived value of how important the things you are dealing with are amplify the stress.

(Oh, and if algebra is one of those things that cause you undo stress, best for you to stop reading here…)

I then took a napkin and wrote out this equation to illustrate what I am talking about:


So, in this equation, you can easily see that the more value and responsibility you have, the higher the potential for stress. But, the more control you have, the lower you make your stress.

You can sort of do some fast math to figure out how much stress you have, and then figure out how to “solve” to lower your stress.

So, how do you lower your stress:

– Don’t Care: Sometimes, when you look at the issues, you are getting all worked up over nothing. I’ve tried to figure out when something is truly a problem, and what is an annoyance. It is amazing how quickly things become manageable when that lens is applied. It won’t work in all cases, there are REAL problems out there, but is an easy way to lower the stress level quickly.

– Lower Your Level of Responsibility: Can you share the load? Can you put some things down for the moment? Can you make those with control take the responsibility?

– Take Control: While this may be the harder road to take, in the long run this is often the most satisfying option. If you already have all of the responsibility, you will feel the repercussions of actions if you speak or not. You may as well talk and influence the decisions. This may initially raise stress in the short term, but once you can steer your destiny a bit, the extra stress is well worth it.







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