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Stress is synonymous with fear. Fear that you aren’t meeting expectations. Fear that you are on someone’s wrong side. Fear that your way of life could change for the worst if you don’t do your best. Every job I’ve had has had some form of mentality I can best describe as do-this-now-do-it-better-why-can’t-you-do-it-better-what-is-wrong-with-you-DO-IT-FASTER-DO-IT-PERFECT-PERFECT-YOUR-IMPERFECTION-YOU-BETTER-HAVE-MORE-OF-THESE-DONE-BY-THE-END-OF-THE-DAY-YOU-BETTER-DO BETTER-I’M-WARNING-YOU-THIS-IS-YOUR-FINAL-WARNING.

And then, say by some strange happenstance, you do hit the mark. You make the goal. Do you get some kind of reward that makes it all worth it? Some form of patting upon the back? Of course not, it’s all nice job, buddy, but now let’s see if we can do even better next time!

Is stress a good motivator? It’s an easy motivator. It’s a lazy motivator. It’s easy to make someone stress about the billion things that can go wrong. Because a billion things can go wrong. But here’s the thing, stress is a voracious people eater.

It’s a gas guzzler. You are the guzzoline it chugs down. Every day, a hair follicle dies. Your skin gets just a little more agitated. Your heart strains an iota off beat. And for what? The very thing that you are trying to prevent from happening is happening. It’s just being long and drawn-out, a controlled demolition at the core of your being with occasional smoke and stray debris scattering from your mouth and fingertips in your very words and actions. You’ve jumped to cover a grenade only to experience its effects in high definition, not even realizing it until it’s too late and your doctor is handing you his diagnosis. But at least you were paid well. At least you spent the majority of your life doing what you loved: stressing about a job you hated.

After five years and now working my fourth job, I have come to this mindset. I will not be intimidated by the stress that a job intends to impress upon me. This is dangerous because this mindset can tend to lead you the wrong way. You can begin to not care at all and neglect your duties and give your employer no choice but to terminate you.

But I walk on the wild side, I laugh in this face of danger, ha ha ha ha!

It’s just that I’ve tried hard to do the best I can and it never has turned out right. So I’ve given up trying hard and just opted to do. I just do. You know?

Mistakes happen either way so why stress about it? Don’t get me wrong. I have taken extra time to do things right, I’ve gone beyond the call of duty, but when it gets to a point where you take that bit of time and the result is the same as if you hadn’t, then it’s just wasting time.

If I’m trying my hardest, that’s all that can be done. I’m not going to miraculously become perfect or better at anything by being harassed, or berated, or shamed. I will only react to these as I always have and laugh.

When I was a kid, I became frustrated at being unable to react to my younger brother’s attacks verbal or physical without getting reprimanded by my parents. The one thing I realized I could do to keep my dignity was laugh. It made him mad, it made him punch harder, but I kept laughing and he could do nothing.

Just as I can do nothing.

If I try my best and it still all unravels, then I will laugh at my mistakes. I will joke about my mistakes. I will make it appear as if I’m doing it on purpose and it’s “all part of my evil plan to rule the world. Ha!” And I will laugh. Ha! Ha! Ha!

And I will not stop laughing.