Aim for easy to stay stress free in life
Sure, there's a time to go hard, for example, when competing in the Olympics. But perhaps surprisingly often, it's wise to aim for the easy.
Tone of voice. Barack Obama's speaking tone was compelling, soothing, effective. Whatever your politics, he's the poster boy for a winning tone of voice. So aim for your easygoing side: Breathe, slow down, and speak from the lower part of your natural range.
Approach to tasks and projects. Filter your approach to tasks and projects by asking yourself "What's an easy yet responsible way?" For example, as you decide on how to prepare for that presentation, rather than submitting to the tyranny of content thereby overwhelming people with facts, you might just list the few points that pop to mind as key - Often the brain bubbles-up what's most important. Then, ask yourself, "What's an easy yet compelling way to drive home each point: an anecdote you remember? A statistic that's easily obtainable, if only by Googling? Or a composite example: something you concoct that incorporates your previous experience and knowledge? Then rather than memorise your presentation, reduce it to a few bullet points, which serve as your guideposts and keep you on track. Practice it once or twice and voila-Chances are that you, with ease, now have a fine presentation.
Processes. If you're developing a process for yourself or others, start with easy. People resist or can't remember complex processes - The perfect is the enemy of the good. For example, if you're crafting an approval process for your workgroup, create a simple process that covers most situations, perhaps a short form that need be approved only by one person, except for riskier asks, which may first require contacting the approver.
Habits. Make it easy to do the new behaviour. For example, if you want to stop smoking, not only toss the cancer sticks but put a substitute (perhaps hard candy) where you'd normally reach for a cigarette: your purse, the table next to your easy chair, your nightstand, wherever.
Exercise. Moderate rather than extreme exercise may be best in the long run. Making exercise even easier, only do forms of exercise that you like enough to stay with for a good while. Mine is hiking with the dog. What's yours?
Sports moves. The best athletes make it look effortless. In part, that's because they don't over-try. They're fluid, relaxed, easy, whether taking a jump shot, throwing a pass, or driving off the tee.
Our society prizes striving, and that has yielded much accomplishment, but as a bit of counterbalance, you might, on a case-by-case basis, decide to infuse your life with some ease.
Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in California, US. -Psychology Today