The 365 Commitment

Stop Tolerating

One of the greatest things that pile stress on us during our daily life are the things we tolerate, or our tolerations. These are soul depleting things. They slowly draw away your energy until toward the end of the day you just run out of energy, depleted by tolerations. These can be easily identified, tracked and systematically eliminated. Just like building good habits, you can slowly remove these one by one until you reach a point where things just feel better.

The first thing you should consider is making a list of tolerations in your life. But, what are tolerations you ask? Simple they are the things that you tolerate even though they are a problem. They just hang there, over your head, always there. They nag you relentlessly all day long. You ignore them, you leave them like that, you tolerate them.

To help with this, let me go through a few examples of my tolerations. This is highly personal, and I am probably revealing a little to much about myself. However in the interest of helping where I can, here goes:

My desk is a complete mess. Full of papers, trash (quite literally, I have trash on my desk from a month ago), bills, paid bills, unpaid bills, letters, junk mail, little things that I have collected. A screwdriver from when I fixed something in the office 2 months ago. The list goes on. It is a complete mess – yet I tolerate it. Now this actually does sap energy from me. I look at it while I am working and think, geez, what a disorganized mess that I am. I look for something and cannot find it, I am bothered by it. It just drags on me all day, a silent thing that I ignore and tolerate but it reduces my ability to handle stress.

That annoying person. Ok, we all have one. There is a particular person that drives you nuts for whatever reason. I will not get into the details, but I have at least one of those and so do you. Think about it those conversations, back and forth, arguments. Are they worth it? Do you get anything out of it? Probably not! These negative relationships cause stress on both parties. They wear both of you down until you are at wits end. Caustic relationships are something we all tolerate, I know that I do. When you engage with this person, it depletes your tank that much more.

Ambiguity in all forms. There is a reason that people like crisp, clear requirements. It reduces ambiguity. I tolerate ambiguity all the time. As a consequence, I have built up a natural stress tolerance. However, I have noticed that when requirements are unclear it causes massive stress on you. You can handle it for a time, or in a few areas, but in too many areas of your life and you start to melt down. That is one of my big problems, living life with too much ambiguity.

Avoiding bad news. For the same reason as above, delaying a decision or avoiding bad news is a big cause of stress. This is something we tolerate all the time. You have bad news that you have to give or receive and we will just delay it, like a guilotine hanging over our head. Perhaps it is just better to give the bad news and move on. We always hang on to bad news or avoid bad news and the more we hang on the more it wears on us. This is something we tolerate but do not have to.

Just doing bad things. We have bad habits that we do and we know they are bad, but we tolerate them. We could actually be killing ourselves, yet we will still tolerate the bad habit. I have a tendency to eat too much sugar. It is like my last vice. I have eliminated almost everything bad out of my life, but sugar still is a major problem. I will just tolerate this behavior, even though I know full well it stresses me out to no end.

Those are few things to think about, I am sure you can come up with a longer list. Some are simple, some are complex. The thing is we can identify them and work on them, then over time we can eliminate our willingness to tolerate something that just depletes our ability to handle stress.

Guy Reams

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