There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the world. There is nothing inappropriate about wanting to reshape wrongs, make an impact or leave the world a better place for your presence.
The more you have such desires, however, the greater your risk factors when it comes to stress. It is because things matter to you, you care and feel deeply about important issues, that your potential for stress is raised.
These character traits are strengths and enable you to achieve worthwhile objectives, but they can come with a price.
The problem, of course, is that the world doesn’t always want to change or cooperate with you. It does not necessarily value your input or share your goals.
If you’re one of those world changing characters (however small or large the world you want to change) you may be what is referred to as a stress-prone personality.
You can see it all around you, even if you don’t use the words. Some people just seem to get stressed more regularly than others.
There are lots of features of a stress-prone personality and we’ll look at them but, in this edition, I will pick out one.
In the 1950’s two heart specialists, Myer Friedman and Ray Rosenman came up with a theory that certain character traits increased risks of heart disease. We will look at their theory over further editions, but you may have heard of Type A and Type B personalities. Today we tend to talk of Type A and B behaviours. Anyway, these high achieving, world changing Type A characters were stress-prone.
The truth is always a bit more complex. It is when the world does not go your way that you, as a Type A, get stressed. It is not the Type A on its own, but what is called the toxic core which generates the stress. It goes like this: “I want to make the world go my way (Type A) and if it doesn’t I will get angry (toxic core)”.
It is the impatient, aggressive reaction to a resistant world which generates the stress explosions in the stress-prone personality.
Two such characters rubbed shoulders with Jesus of Nazareth. One was a lady called Martha. The other a man called Peter.
Martha’s Type A behaviour involved being a generous and well-organized hostess when Jesus and his team turned up at her home. The toxic part of her behaviour was to get angry at her sister who was sitting and listening and at Jesus for not telling Mary to help.
Peter wanted his friend to be safe and secure but when he saw his world threatened, he took out a sword and hacked off an ear (you may know this desire!).
Both individuals wanted the right thing (hospitality and safety) but both got angry when it was not going their way.
In these two individuals they even wanted to make Jesus (the Way) go their way.
You might like to look at how Type A you are this week and also see how you react when things don’t go your way. This will help you determine how stress-prone you are.
Work well today,
© Geoff Shattock January 2019
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!”And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
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