What Do I Have To Believe For This To be True?
Goal: To teach a technique for stress reduction
Many years ago I was was working as a professor at multiple schools. Each of these schools followed a different schedule and durations.
Let me explain.
School A was on a quarter system and followed a 10 week schedule. Every week the students met for 4 hours per week for 10 weeks. In eleventh week the student finished the course and took exams.
School B followed a 4 hours per week for 6 weeks schedule. They did not have exams but simply focused on assignments, short quizzes, and presentations.
At that time school A was my full time job and I instructed 1–2 course at school B.
Where is this going?
Towards the end of the quarter I was asked by my boss at school A what days I was available for next quarter. I gave my boss my schedule for next 10 weeks and he said OK.
When the schedule for next quarter came out, I was assigned the days when I was not available due to working at school B. He had done this just to anger me. It did. And when I asked him about it he simply said I did not have to work full time and lose health insurance for my family.
That night when I finished teaching I was driving home very stressed. I was pissed. I knew that he knew what he did was wrong and it angered me.
Besides being angry, I did not want the students at school B to be hurt since we were halfway through the 6 week cycle.
While driving I remember my blood boiling because I had no control of the situation. Or so it seemed.
I kept thinking and stressing. Then I asked myself the most powerful question, “What is it that I have to believe to be true that it might not be true?”
My drive was about 65 miles to get home so I had a lot of time to think. It did not take took too long for me to conclude that I believed to be true that my school B group could not be moved to another night.
Next day I told my boss at school B about my predicament and he agreed for me to ask my students to move to another night if all students agreed. I asked the students and they all agreed.
Why is this story important?
In our lives we are confronted by situations that create stress. For some this situation would not have created stress BUT for me it did.
The stress was due to my belief systems and values. Once I commit to others to truly do something I never fail to live up to my end of the deal. Never!!!
Decisions can put us in stressful situations when they involve others. The bigger the team the bigger the stress. These decisions challenge our belief systems.
We don’t want to let people down.
As the story illustrates, often the stress involves a belief that is not necessarily true. If challenged, the belief or fact, it could lead us to a solution.
I love this question and use it all the time. Hopefully it will provide you with an alternative path(s) in stressful situations.
My two cents….(this is what I earned from Medium.com in October 2020)
I got to go…my future self alarm went off
Robert Trajkovski is professional with experience in leading people and projects in Steel/ Power, Refining, Chemicals, Industrial Gasses, Software, Consulting and Academia. He has worked for both owners and engineering companies. In addition, he has instructed 73+ courses at several institutions and often offers his courses for free on LinkedIn.
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