If your house is on fire, I don’t think it is a difficult conversation to wake everybody up and get the hell out of the house.

So what makes something difficult? I argue a difficult conversation is difficult because we want two things, not one thing. And that’s the beginning of stress.

Let’s define stress. In physical terms, stress happens when something wants to be in two places. If we apply pressure to both ends of an iron rod, stress is created. One part wants to be here and one part wants to be there.

And for us, stress is when we want to do two incompatible things at once. We have an inability to decide what’s important. We want to relax, but we need to work. We want to fire someone, but we want them to like us. Now, we’re under stress.

When we want to get out of stress, perhaps a good place to start is asking, what are the two things I am wanting at this moment?

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