Calm in a Burning House

Calm in a burning house
If you suddenly found yourself in an emergency situation like a burning house, the best thing to do is to stay calm and relaxed. Calm and relaxed people make better decisions, and are far more likely to survive a dangerous situation such as this one.

Do you constantly put yourself in impossible situations - simply because you’re eager and hungry for adventure and success - and then you find those situations get really unpleasant at times?

I am always pressing MY envelope. I’m always taking risks to maximize what I can achieve.

And that is scary. I constantly put myself in scary situations. Emotionally, financially, strategically, tactically, and with my reputation.

Someone said to me the other day “You know Gary, you could run a very nice profitable boutique consulting business with 1-2 employees for a very long time.”

And I said, “Sure, but in 2009 I decided I was done with that. Because I want to build something much bigger than that.” Something that lasts far longer and has wider impact.

I’m working to build a stronger company. And that takes risks.

Dear reader, please do not ever think that “Gary is up on a high mountain living in a little bubble of Guru-dom, while I’m down here doing all the work and slogging it out.” My life is a lot like yours.

But here is one thing I have learned - and am learning - about taking risks:


When you’re faced with a tough situation, yes you may need to work your buns off… but the best way to start is ALWAYS to step back and calm yourself down and not only think but FEEL where you need to go in the situation.

A couple of years ago I was planning a vacation in Michigan and the month of August had been CRAZY. My brand new book “How to Sell Art Online: The Complete Guide” got released 2 weeks faster than planned, which means furious last-minute scrambling.

Punch line: The first full week of my brand new book being on sale (5 1/2 years in the making) was the ONE week of our family summer vacation.

NOT what I would have wanted or planned!

But life doesn’t always work the way you plan, does it?

Plus I’m an obsessive personality… so my natural tendency is to control freak everything, especially when there’s a hot new project.

I realized that week, Gary you’re not allowing yourself to enjoy your vacation, simply because a whole bunch of things are spinning out of your control right now. And that is screwed up, because the secret to moving into the next phase of your life is remaining relaxed and enjoying yourself even when there’s chaos.

I’ve talked often about my young-entrepreneur days. One of the beliefs I had at the time (which I still find myself veering into) is:

“Gary you cannot relax / enjoy yourself / be joyful / celebrate the moment UNTIL you have everything under control. Until then, you have not ‘earned’ it.”

That is a LIE.

Life is like martial arts: The winning player is the one who remains most agile and relaxed, while hitting and kicking with maximum impact.

Think about this: If you suddenly found yourself in an emergency situation like a burning house, the best thing to do is to stay calm and relaxed. Calm and relaxed people make better decisions, and are far more likely to survive a dangerous situation such as this one.

You do yourself and the world NO favors by being panicked and stressed out all the time.

So I decided back then that would I go over some things with my assistant and then we were all going to a nature preserve. I left the stresses of work behind and was able to finally enjoy the lovely state of Michigan.

Maybe for you, you need to actually enjoy your vacation time and enjoy your family today.

Or maybe for you today, you just need to get a cup of coffee or tea and stand on your back deck for ten solid minutes. You need look at the sky and be thankful for that little cloud floating by, a cloud that has never been before nor will never come again.

Or… you can lock yourself in your office and deny yourself permission to enjoy all that, putting off the enjoyment of life until everything is “right.”

Please be very careful to understand what I’m saying here.

I’m not giving you permission to be “lazy” in the slothful irresponsible sense of the word.

I’m not suggesting that you go on a costly Caribbean cruise if you can’t even afford to stay at the Muncie, Indiana Holiday Inn.

Nor am I suggesting passivity.

What I am suggesting is that, living in the moment, life affords all kinds of joys. If you shut your joy-portal down just because some business project is not cooperating this week, all you’re doing is shooting yourself in the foot.

No day is too busy to take 5 minutes to be thankful, to be present, to be in the moment, to tell somebody you love and appreciate them.

No day is too busy to ask yourself, “I know things are not running as planned right now, but what is GOOD about this?”

And if you do that, then when you DO get to your business destination, you won’t have become one of those miserable bitchy rich people who’s lonely and has no friends.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. MatericLook

    Absolute truth!
    One thing I think it’s completely crazy is that in some communities (or countries/regions, as I’m from Italy) you’re not really “having a job” or “working” if you’re not stressed and only hoping for the weekend…. and a lot of people are pushing you toward the kind of life you know you’re not interesting in having (probably them too, unconsciously).
    Scariest part is that I’ve seen the same thing in very young people, maybe less directly, but they will do absolutely nothing to help you, if they see you’re life seems too easy, even if asked… and I’m talking about a share on social media, coming to a free event, or stuff like that.
    Have you ever experienced anything similar?
    I’ve been around and I know not everywhere is like that, but it’s incredible how certain areas/communities are incredibly stubborn and change-resistant even today, while using internet ad social media.

  2. MaryJo

    A lovely reminder. Thank you for sharing.

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