Ep 5: Five things (and also 20 things) to reduce stress

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We try to take on too much, and it keeps us from doing our best. It’s great to live in a time where we have so many options.

But having too many goals can derail you.

This story about Warren Buffet can help you hone in on your most important goals.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 5: Five Things (and also 20 things) to Reduce Stress

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your mental health moment.

One way to reduce stress is to simply reduce what we have on our plates.

Easier said than done though, right? Everything begs for attention now.

If you look at your list of to-do’s for this week, no doubt there are some things on that list that you feel like you just can’t do without.

Well, maybe.

There’s an interesting story from Warren Buffet that illustrates how you can easily figure out what to eliminate.

As you know, Warren Buffett is a gazillionaire who has been making good money for a very long time. And he seems like a pretty relaxed guy, too.

That’s not always the case with gazillionaires.

Anyway, the story goes that he was helping his personal airplane pilot develop some career goals.

He asked him to write a list of 25 things that he wanted to do, goals that he had for his life.

Who knows maybe he wrote it on one of those tiny square airplane napkins? That’s how goal setting works in my house. 😜

Well, after he had written that list of 25 goals, Warren asked him to circle five goals on that list.

Warren then had him write those five circled goals on one list, and write the uncircled 20 goals on another list.

This poor Pilot probably thought that Warren was going to have him just prioritize the top five things he was going to work on.

All the while he could just poke the other 20 goals with a stick, and make them like a secondary priority.

Does that sound familiar?

I mean, after all, if you want to accomplish 25 things in your life, you can’t get there by not working on them at all, right?

Yeah, that’s exactly what the gazillionaire asked this pilot to do.

Warren told him to put those 20 goals on a separate list, and then… completely avoid them.

At all costs.

It didn’t mean he was never going to get to those 20 things.

It just meant that his focus and energy would go to those five — and nothing but those five — first.


Because Warren knew the mere presence of those 20 uncircled goals would continue to steal his precious focus.

Not only that, but seeing 20 goals that he’s not working on but feels like he should be working on wastes precious mental energy.

I hope you don’t have 25 things on your list for today.

If you do, that may be why you’re stressed, just saying.

Maybe you have 10 things on your list. But you know what? Right now, circle just three.

This may not be easy. You may feel like everything on your list for today is super important.

But the reality is you’re going to waste a lot of time worrying about seven of those things.

And you’ll jeopardize the three that could make a real difference for you.

Put the other seven on tomorrow’s list, or even the next day.

Remove them from your line of sight.

And focus on getting those three things done.

In order to reduce your stress and manage your anxiety, you have to find ways to eliminate the noise and mental clutter that fight for your attention every day.

Don’t be afraid to make surgical and brutal decisions about how you will spend your time today.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

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