Something Different Today

A different kind of writing, today.

Thought #1: Promotion-as-reward makes as much sense as transfer-to-different-job-function-as-reward. Sales offices die by promoting their top salespeople to management positions. Different skill set entirely. Being good at marketing isn’t the same as being good at managing marketers. Hard to turn down a promotion, but sometimes your own career suffers if you accept.

Thought #2: When I’m processing a question that requires my creative input, sometimes I’ll turn off the filter that people have in their brains that keeps them from saying stuff. I’ll just dump every random thought I have on the topic out loud. Like dumping out Scrabble tiles, so I can look at them and then figure out what words I can make.

Thought #3: Stress prevents you from being productive, but being productive is generally the cure for stress. Saving a little bit of easy productivity for when you’re really stressed can be like having a secret quantum tunnel for those times.

That one. Okay, I like that one.

When you’re feeling stressed – when you are stressed? Is stress a feeling, or a state? Bridges don’t “feel” stressed, but put enough pressure on one and it collapses. What’s the difference between feelings, states, responses?

Everything is a chemical or an electrical impulse. Emotion/state/response is a categorization for convenience. Still helpful, though. So where does “stress” fall?

Is it external or internal? More internal, despite seeming like the opposite. Outside stimuli provoke stress, but your internal processing matters. Two people can touch the same thorn and feel wildly different levels of pain. Is it based on sensitivity of nerve endings – or discipline of the mind?

So let’s call stress a state. It isn’t an instantaneous response, like pain or anger. But it isn’t a long-term association like love. It’s more of a status that you hold based on how you’re processing things. It’s when you’re running hot, nearing capacity.

There’s a signal in that noise, definitely. Something to latch onto and read. But stress is unusual, in that the solution is sometimes counter-productive. Are you in pain? Remove the thing causing you pain. Are you angry? Remove the thing angering you. But if you’re stressed – sometimes you can’t just remove the stressor, because you’re stressed about balancing kids, a job, a mortgage. All things you can’t immediately discard. You have to mitigate and solve long-term, unless you always want to run from anything mildly difficult.

So you have a few techniques. One is to raise your stress threshold. Self-management and organization can help. Another is to de-stress using an unrelated thing, whatever that is for you. A third is to change the way you’re actually approaching the thing you’re stressed about, reassign resources. Maybe you can’t get rid of your kids (I hope!), but if you get rid of a less important and unrelated thing, can you afford a babysitter more often? Things like that.

This was a glimpse at my writing process. I’m putting it here because I think it will be interesting for me to look at later. Start with a few thought threads, whatever I’ve been thinking about lately. See which one flows naturally into longer form. Jot down thoughts as they come. The last step, which I didn’t do today, is to go polish and align. Instead I left the thoughts as they fell.

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