Earlier this year I created a new training for real estate agents focused on how to do “drama-free deals.” It’s been a popular topic. Every agent I speak with tells me about how they are caught up in drama.
Buying and selling a home can be a period of intense emotions on its own. Inject to that the various world events and external life factors and it’s a recipe for chaos.
Lately, it seems like we live in an endless cycle of chaos and drama. The news keeps coming at us at an increasingly faster pace. And there seems to be more of it.
It used to be that a “major” news story would occupy the front page for several weeks, or months. These days, it’s rare for the half-life for a major story to exceed a few days. There are exceptions, but even those are fading.
It comes at us so quickly and with such immediacy that we lose track of it. We lose perspective on time.
You read or experience something so big that you assume that you will be thinking about it for months. Then it comes up in conversation and you realize: that was only last week??
We remember the shooting at Parkland because those kids masterfully kept the school shooting in the news for a couple of months. But do you remember the shootings that happened since then?
Do you remember the shooting in Las Vegas? That happened in October. October. It’s not even been a year.
Chaos reigns. This is the new normal.
The Price of Speed
In our on-demand world, speed is the prized currency. But it comes at a steep cost.
Like Pavlov’s dogs, we are well-trained to react to the ping.
There’s no room for reflection. No capacity for contemplation. No space for slowing down.
Although we may complain about the swirl of chaos and drama that invades our lives, we continue to chase the drama.
We scroll endlessly through social media and news, as if we are searching for reasons to react in outrage. We immerse more in work.
We stay busy.
It’s like we’re trying to survive a heat-wave by building a fire.
What’s the effect of this on your attention? Your focus? Your energy?
How does this impact your relationships? Your creativity? Your health?
What is this doing to your ability to think clearly? Communicate with intention? Create meaningful connections?
Intuitively, you know the impact of this:
Drama drains your attention and focus. Chaos creates physical feelings of stress and anxiety — it puts your body into literal fight-flight-freeze mode.
The constant swirl of frenetic energy make you tired, snappish, angry, and frustrated.
Eventually, you lose your passion for what you do and connection to your purpose. You hit burnout.
How to Eliminate the Drama
Here’s the good news: you can extract yourself from this at any time.
You cannot control the news or what happens in the world. But you can control the drama because the drama it’s within you. It’s in how you react.
Drama is an emotional habit. Like all habits, it has a trigger. The trigger is always internal.
The solution is simple: Pause.
This quote is commonly attributed to Viktor Frankl:
Between the stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies choice. In that choice lies our growth and freedom.
Most people cite this quote to make the point that we don’t honor the space between the stimulus and response. This is true.
And, this is the effect.
We don’t honor the space because we don’t see the stimulus in the first place. We can’t see it when we are moving so fast all the time.
We need to slow down enough to see the stimulus. And we must pause not just in response to it, but to create space to look for it.
By regularly conditioning the ritual of pausing, for example at the start of every day, you will eventually be able to see the stimulus. Then you can honor the space between the stimulus and response.
It starts with a pause.