My teenage son works after school at a Frozen Yogurt store. He was telling me that a person came in yesterday who was rude to the two teenagers working there. He gave me examples of how this person was “making a scene” and yelling at them. What I explained to him is that people right now are so polarized and stressed that they lash out at people that may not look, act, or think like they do. They may not be bad people, but they are letting stress dictate their actions.
Stress is natural, but the way people respond to any event causing stress can cause them to be seen as rude, disruptive, or even worse. So, how can you proactively handle these types of stressful situations that might cause you to react in an inappropriate way?
Here are three recommendations from Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:”
- Do the very best you can. Dale Carnegie said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.” This combined with the old adage that “anything worth doing, is worth doing right” tells us that we need to get busy working doing the best job we can to reduce stress. I have learned throughout my life when you do the best you can, you will be rewarded with a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and courage.
- Put enthusiasm into your work. Giving your best effort by itself can still leave work feeling monotonous and stressful. Dale Carnegie said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” To reduce stress, try to put some fun into what you do every day. This could be by helping coworkers, trying to put a smile on a customer’s face, or making a game out of the repetitious activities that need to be done. Have fun with it!
- Expect ingratitude. If you do things expecting gratitude, you will be disappointed. Most people expect that you will do your job, after all, that is what they pay you to do. If this is causing stress for you, it might help to set small goals with rewards that you can give yourself when you achieve them (i.e., going to the movies, getting a new pair of shoes, or having a date night). Rewarding yourself is a good way to give yourself gratitude for your own hard work.
My son received a promotion and a raise after 3 months on the job by employing these simple rules that Dale Carnegie wrote about decades ago (yes, he took the Dale Carnegie Teen programs). So, keep your mindset in a good place at school, work, home, or in public by doing the best job you can, with enthusiasm, and not expecting gratitude. That way, you are not dependent on others for happiness and you reduce stress by creating your own happiness.
Download a free copy of Dale Carnegies’ Principles on Managing Stress from “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.”