By Dr. Randal Dick
OneAccord Nonprofit Principal
"Who Would You Like to Raise Your Kids?"
The doctor was justifiably frustrated. He had put up with my denial-motivated responses for several visits. I was full of reasons why what he was saying applied to the other guys but not to me.
He shifted gears, looked long and hard at me and said, “Tell me this: Who would you like to raise your children?” I had three young kids and a wonderful wife. He got my attention.
It’s called Hurry Up Disease because the single best indicator of an infected person is their chronic sense of time pressure.Most of us live with a sense of urgency. We hurry through life at a hectic pace, with little tolerance for anything that blocks our goals or delays our accomplishments. This despite the fact we are constantly bombarded with books, articles and blogs on the dangers of chronic stress.
So why keep reading?
We don’t really understand the nature of stress or how it does its damage.
Because what we have not heard clearly enough is that this disease is curable without loss of energy, drive or accomplishment. We have not heard clearly enough that the essence of damage from stress lies not so much in the problems of life, but in our attitude toward time and the excitement we derive from interesting challenges and demanding schedules.
The stress response is a natural form of arousal. In moderation, it is healthy — even necessary. But the excessive flow of those hormones associated with stress will eventually lead to physiological and psychological distress, and the leader among these hormones is adrenaline.
Can we so manage our thinking, attitudes and behavior that we can reduce the excessive arousal of this hormone and thus avoid the damaging consequences of living life in high gear? The answer is a definite and resounding Yes.
We all know stress is a problem. Our predicament is that we don’t really understand the nature of stress or how it does its damage. Therefore, we don’t know how to prevent that damage. The next installment will ask the question, Are you addicted to adrenaline? Don’t answer until you read and consider the symptoms.
Pop Quiz: Self-Assessment
This installment concludes with a quiz, taken from Dr. Archibald Hart’s book, “Stress and Adrenaline Addiction.” This book may literally save your life as it did his, and mine. This informal quiz will give you an indication of whether you have a type A temperament and how likely you may be to over-recruit adrenaline and allow it to reside in your system.
Instructions: Read each question and assign yourself a score of 0, 1 or 2:
0 = This statement does not apply to me
1 = It sometimes applies to me (less than once a month)
2 = It often applies to me (more than once a week)
Tally your score and see its meaning below.
- I feel there isn’t enough time in each day to do all the things I need to do.
- I tend to speak faster than other people, even finishing their sentences for them.
- My spouse or friends say, or I believe, that I eat too quickly.
- I really hate it when I lose a game.
- I am very competitive in work, sports or games.
- I tend to be bossy and dominate others.
- I prefer to lead rather than follow.
- I feel pressed for time even when I am not doing something important.
- I become impatient when I have to wait for something or when I am interrupted.
- I tend to make decisions quickly, even impulsively.
- I take on more than I can accomplish.
- I become irritable (and even angry) more than most other people.
If your score is:
- Less than 5
You’re not a type A, but you may occasionally slip into type A behavior.
- Between 6 and 10
You are beginning to show occasional signs of type A behavior. As you near the upper end of the range, you may be a mixture of type A and type B.
- Between 11 and 16
You are definitely a type A person. At the higher end you are becoming prone to excessive adrenaline.
- Above 17
Although life may be very exciting, you are living dangerously.
People with type A behaviors tend to over recruit adrenaline more than others. However, that is not the same as being addicted to adrenaline. Addictions involve withdrawals when we stop the addictive behavior. In the next installment you can get a good idea whether you are addicted to adrenaline and what you can do about it.
How could your organization have greater impact?
About the Author
Randal is a results-driven, development and execution-oriented leader with more than 25 years of experience leading high performance teams. He’s a proven business professional, capable of leading change in both the boardroom and on the frontline, with a strong track record leading strategy development, entrepreneurship, performance and evaluation globally across a variety of social enterprises and functions.
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