Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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I have no stress, and this is my story.

Published: 08 Nov 2012

I don’t want stress. It’s not enough to simply say that, though. I must have a narrative to guide me there.

Last week I listened to a great guy from Providence, RI talk about building the tech scene there. He runs a start-up accelerator program, making introductions and arranging for funding, removing the stops and lubricating the wheels. It’s a good thing.

The point he really drove home was the need for a narrative. Don’t talk about where you are. Talk about where you’re going and where you want to go. The trick is to talk about now like it’s then. Then will be now much sooner than we all think. We have to choose our story well, or it is written for us without our consultation.

This realization made me focus clearly on how I want to live my life. Our lives are habits. If we don’t put effort into forming good habits, bad habits will take over. Sometimes the effort is just our narrative, repeating it and living it. I think I have it figured out.

Instead of saying, “I want to be free of stress” I will say “I am stress free.”

I will not say, “I want to always enjoy what I’m doing.” but “I always enjoy what I am doing.”

I cannot “try to study as a way to achieve my goals”, but I will use learning and study as a means to that end.

I will not try to be the best father and husband. I will nurture my family and my family will support me. We share our joy, triumphs, failures and tragedies.

It’s almost a paradox. Think of tomorrow like it’s today, today will be better for it. If we can do that we will succeed in controlling our lives, our happiness and our successes.

Yesterday my wife asked me, “Is it really necessary to always work on improvement?” I didn’t have a good answer and I said no, but I needed more time to think.

Why isn’t it? Very few things in life are compulsory. We don’t’ have to improve. The price of hard work is not paid at the time. It’s compounded interest that takes its toll on us through our lives. It makes our happiest moments fleeting, able to be broken without warning.

That’s a price I won’t pay. I control my future. I am happy.