Reading time 2-3 minutes
Hey everyone, once again (like the last article), I want to make clear that this article has the same purpose: I want to leave you in a position to reflect on the topic.
I picked a few events/topics that made me reflect on the importance of controlling your perspective, I’m going to be extra careful about the words I use as well because I don’t want anyone to go misquoting me as this has become quite a sensitive issue on the internet.
So, these are the events/topics I’m going to link:
- Simone Biles quitting some of her competitions on the Olympics, mentioning mental health issues;
- Novak Djokovic saying “pressure is a privilege”, at the Olympics too;
- This Ted talk from Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend.
Now, for these three events/topics, I’m going to link to stoicism and its suggested practices, consequently, you’ll understand the title of this article.
Once again, please understand that I’m not coming from a judgemental position on any of these topics, I want to reflect because I believe they all have an interesting link that perhaps we can benefit from a deeper understanding.
Simone Biles: she’s arguably the world’s best gymnast, a career that majority of us can only dream of. From the position and accolades, she reached a point where there really isn’t anything else to do. Now, at this Olympic she mentioned that the stress and pressure didn’t leave her in a good mental state, it has been and is harming her, consequently, she didn’t perform as expected and decided to leave some of the competitions;
Novak Djokovic: not much to say here, right after one of the matches that he won in the Olympics a reporter asked him about the topic of the moment (stress and pressure of competing) and the guy just replies “yeah, pressure is a privilege”. I’m not going to defend or attack the guy like the internet is doing, people are very fast to do so these days. I’m only going to highlight that he is not going through any mental health issues at this point;
How to make stress your friend by Kelly McGonigal: I’d suggest you watch the whole talk, it’s only 15 minutes and really valuable insights. I’ll sum it up for you, apparently they’ve found scientific evidence (in studies) to show that having stress (and pressure) is not a problem, rather, and this is the key point, you viewing stress as a problem is the problem.
I’ll explain: yes, acknowledge that you have stress and pressure in your life. The acknowledging part is necessary, because if you don’t (if you try to ignore), you know you’re lying to yourself, that’s never good. Now, the problem is: do you view stress and pressure as good or bad?
Coming only from a perspective base analysis, can we conclude that Simone Biles chose to see stress and pressure as bad and Novak Djokovic chose to see it as good? (I’m really asking you).
The reason for this is because the Ted Talk demonstrates how our bodies react to how you choose to view stress and pressure, meaning, acknowledge it, but your choice on perspective will determine whether the outcome of this stress and pressure does you any good or does you any harm.
This means: we have scientific proof that controlling our perspectives (mind) determines the physical consequences (body).
Now, for the part that I find really funny:
Have we just found scientific proof that the Stoics cracked this issue in the 3rd century BC?!
I mean, if you read and try to implement the suggested practices of stoicism, you will understand that “Perspective” is the very first pillar, as they understand that this determines everything else. Also, there are multiple quotes from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and others strongly suggesting you to: Control your perspective!
Reach out to our Mindset & Performance coach Adam Carmichael, I’m sure he can elucidate these topics for you.
It’s amazing how this quote makes more and more sense with time and reflection:
“For the mind adapts and converts any obstacle to its action into a means of achieving it. That which is an impediment to action is turned to advance action. The obstacle on the path becomes the way” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.20
Is stress and pressure bad for you? Apparently, you get to choose. As a conclusion, this is not “TheWakko says”, this is “Stoics say” and “Science says”.
All the best guys, let me know your thoughts!
Rene Kuhlman - TheWakko
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