It’s quite obvious that we, as a nation, are exposed to more stressful situations today than at any time in recent history. At the same time, we have more information and coping strategies available to us as well. However, availability means nothing. Utilization means everything. It’s that knowing-doing gap all over again.
William James (1842-1910), the American philosopher and psychologist known as “the father of American psychology,” once shared this wise observation: “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
The true challenge, of course, is to make that choice. History reveals countless scenarios where a choice would have made all of the difference and yet no choice was made. Choosing not to choose is a choice!
It’s also quite obvious that the more information you have at your disposal, the wiser the choice you will make. Consider this shocking fact: “A weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in 17th century England.”
Thomas L. Friedman, author of the best-selling The World Is Flat, states that “Never before in the history of the planet have so many people—on their own—had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many other people.”
While both of these observations are indeed encouraging to our effort to combat the many stresses we face today, the fact remains that we, as individuals and organizations, must exert the effort to seek out, absorb, and apply this necessary information. More than ever before we must research, read, benchmark, seek mentors, ask and observe. Everyone has equal access … not everyone pursues it. The responsibility is yours.