Stress and overwhelm.

History has had its fair share of dynamic duo’s. But right now, the duo of stress and overwhelm are the ones to watch out for.


We live in a world of ‘now’. Aside from a home or a car we can have almost anything we want inside 24hrs. And in some cases, delivered to our door. Our digital age is constantly offering us products and services designed to make obtaining what we want, even easier. Precursor #1 to stress and overwhelm.

Products and services are being reinvented, or disrupted if you like, and offered up to us once again as easier to acquire, use, and pay for. We went from Taxi’s to Uber, from payphones to iPhones, from dating agencies to Tinder, and all at an astonishing pace. In 1990 we were on the way to having a desktop PC in every home. Today, almost everyone has one. But it’s 10 times more powerful, makes phone calls, and fits in our pocket. Precursor #2 to stress and overwhelm.


Our personal expectations are now set quite high, well before we’ve an understanding of what’s available. In fact it’s more accurate to say that our expectations have morphed into demands. And we’re losing the ability to tell the difference.

Goods and service providers are bending over backwards to provide us everything, for next to nothing, in no time at all. No wonder the current status quo exists. By doing so they’re creating a suite of less than quality experiences, and a sizable army of disappointed consumers, who’ve access to a digital platform capable of global reach. Should someone dare say no to our demands, or fail to live up to our preconceived expectations, our dummy-spits can be heard the world over. Precursor #3 to stress and overwhelm

We could view this world as one of misunderstood expectations leading to a perceived failure to deliver. But underneath, it’s a result of our desire to live a life free from stress and overwhelm. An illusion created by products and services claiming it can provide that for us. Of course, the glaringly obvious chink in this armour is, our expectations aren’t aligned with what people can deliver. We’re falling for the hype, the BS, the unsubstantiated claims. A mismatch between desire and reality.

“The moment we can’t have what we want because of reasons we don’t understand, or we can’t satisfy and supply the expectations of those we serve, stress and overwhelm takes over.”


What this is doing to people is, at first glance, going unnoticed. Until they crack. Only then will we realise we’ve missed one or all three of the stress and overwhelm precursors. To more quickly recognise those three precursors, in either ourselves or others, we need to adopt a more simplistic approach. Not easy in an overly complicated world I know. But going against the grain is the first step in creating a much healthier trend for yourself, and those around you.

Precursor #3, Expectations.

Stress and overwhelm despise expectations, because expectations create clarity. The truth is we know we can’t have it all. To believe otherwise is proof positive to those who say we act like entitled arseholes, insisting our demands be met. Just because we “think” it should be done, should be provided, should be obtainable in the manner we decree, does not make it so. We need to add more “us” to our expectations and accept that effort on our part is mandatory in achieving or acquiring what we seek. Part of such effort involves inquiry and research. We can’t wish for it, we must earn it, we must create it. Demand less, understand more.

Precursor #2, Contentment

Stress and overwhelm cannot occupy the same space as satisfaction. When will good enough be good enough? The moment we choose to believe it is. Do not misinterpret this as settling, contentment is about knowing yourself better. The latest and greatest trends or products can do little if we’re not sure why we want them. Consider the effects of FOMO, social media trends, constant product updates and improvements. All this leads to comparisons being made before anything has even been acquired. Keeping up with it all is impossible. And yet, we try. Learn where your contentment resides, filter your options down to those which promote your contentment point. Ignore what distracts you.

Precursor #1, Choice

Stress and overwhelm are bolstered by an onslaught of confusing choices. And unsurprisingly such confusion is brought about by not having a clear understanding of what it is we’re seeking. And that’s OK, clarity takes time and effort. The trick here is to filter quickly, and often. Take the time to learn about what you’re after, or what you’re trying to provide. Investigate, research, and then ask questions. Choice paralysis is a thing. Stay focussed on the details of what you want to acquire or provide. Select accordingly and watch how fast your choices are narrowed down.



Stress and overwhelm are facts of life. To some they’re motivators, to others they’re inhibitors. But think of it like this, if we take the time to understand our role in the precursors, we’re well on our way to controlling the effects. If we know what it is we’ll be satisfied with, and can communicate clearly, we can then choose accordingly. No demands, no failure to deliver, no misunderstandings or feelings of disappointment.

By the way, ‘should’ is a terrible word, it’s empty of fact or clarity. Think of that next time you or those closest to you are stressed out and overwhelmed.