Advice on Stress From the World’s Most Successful Business People

Stress gets a bad rap these days, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Our brains need a certain level of anxiety to take action. Otherwise, we’d all be sitting around lethargically doing nothing. Moderate levels of stress generated by a looming deadline or important business meeting can help us to work at peak performance. It’s when stress builds up and isn’t managed properly that it becomes a problem.

Find out how some of the world’s most successful business people deal with stress and how it’s helped them to achieve greatness.

Bill Gates

The co-founder, former chief executive and chairman of Microsoft suggests keeping it simple. He believes that the ability to focus on the tasks at hand is a “special form of genius”.

As a business owner, when stress starts to build, you can follow Bill’s example by simplifying things to their basic form. This helps to put things into perspective and make them feel more manageable.

Richard Branson

The Virgin Group founder is estimated to be worth over AUD$6.5 billion. Interestingly, he says he would be ok if he lost it all tomorrow and would go and live in Bali. He considers his family and his health to be more important than his empire.

Don’t lose sight of the important things in life as a business owner. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Follow Richard’s example by recognising the difference between a real problem and a trivial work issue.

Jeff Bezos

The founder, chairman and CEO of makes stress work a form of work. As soon as he starts to feel he’s losing control, he identifies the problem and takes action, whether it’s a phone call or an email.

Dramatically reduce stress like Jeff by taking control and tackling stressful situations head on, one step at a time.

Elon Musk

The co-founder of PayPal, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors has a busy schedule but isn’t afraid of hard work. He believes that people should “ignore fear if it’s irrational” but if even it’s rational then go ahead and do it anyway.

If your stress is causing irrational fears, then you can take a leaf out of Elon’s book by taking the stress out of the equation when it comes to decision making.

Susan Wojcicki

The CEO of YouTube is incredibly successful but doesn’t let work rule her life. She finds she acquires much more insight if she takes time off and concentrates on building a balance.

You too can achieve a balance like Susan by recognising that working non-stop causes burnout and affects productivity. If you’re feeling stressed, take time out and focus on your personal life to optimise your work time when you go back to it.

Jack Dorsey

Twitter’s co-founder and co-creator could easily get overwhelmed by stress but sees the bigger picture. Unexpected things cause stress says Jack “The more ritual and the more consistency you can build in your schedule, the less stress you’re going to have”.

If you’re feeling stressed, increase the consistency in your daily routine like Jack. Setting a rhythm will boost your focus and make you feel more productive.


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