Stress Analysis was one of the most boring classes at IIT Bombay and I wished that I never have to delve into it again. I was forced to study it once again, not to design any efficient structure or material but to deal efficiently with the powerful multi-dimensional stresses of entrepreneurship journey. As entrepreneurs we are hammered, bolted, culled, slaughtered and nuked everyday from multiple directions by our customers, sellers, investors, employees, family members and government. And unless we master the science of managing the accompanying stresses, the journey most likely will terminate before the dawn comes.
Before we get into the first order solutions of dealing with stresses, lets analyze what is a “Stress” and the various dimensions of it. In physical world, “Stress” is an “internal reaction” in a material object to variety of external forces applied on it and is a function of “material properties” unique to that material object. Strains are deformations formed in a material object as a result of these stresses and are usually function of time too.
Similarly, we also develop internal stresses as a reaction to external forces applied on us. Its important to highlight that these stresses are a function of how we are reacting to a situation and circumstance around us. Stresses are not given to us by anyone but we develop internally. Different individuals develop different types of stresses for similar types of external forces. Similar to material objects, these stresses overtime can develop strains and deformations in our body which sometimes are irreversible.
So what can we do to minimize strains in our body developed due to stresses? Here are “Five Ways” of dealing with them by using Physics and its Laws:
1. Be Elastic (Be Flexible): Elasticity or Flexibility is one aspect which materials develop to deal with external forces as described by Hookes Law. The objects which are elastic develop lesser strains and deformations. Similarly if we are flexible in our approach, mindset and body, there will be lesser strains to our body and mind. For example, if you are flexible on when employee can come to work and leave, if you are flexible around taking multiple roles, if you are flexible around taking different approaches to finding a solution, if you are flexible in your schedule to give more time to your family, all can reduce your chances of generating strains in your body.
2. Lower Your Entropy (Lower Your Internal Chaos): Entropy is a measure of “Chaos” in the physical world. It is a Physics law that systems with lowest entropy have more available energy for useful work. Similarly if we can reduce our internal chaos, we can have more energy and lesser work related stress. By focusing on our goals and not diverting, by prioritizing our tasks, by taking deep breaths or running to give more oxygen to our mind and body or by doing Yoga to clam down our mental disturbance, we inherently are reducing chaos and therefore internal stresses which develop.
3. Increase Coherence (Promote In-sync Teamwork – Goals & Actions): Coherence is one of the concepts from “Wave Theory” which talks about “Coherent” waves are those which “Constructively Interfere” and not “Destructively Interfere”. A coherent system is more stable and can tolerate disturbances better and can build (scale) further by adding new coherent waves. Similarly building coherence among your team, investors, sellers, customers and family, can reduce stresses a lot. Make sure you communicate priorities of tasks, goals, issues, challenges and ensure that actions to solve or achieve them are all coherent and not going in different directions. Reducing stresses among team members with coherent actions, communication and goals can increase chances of success of your startup a lot.
4. Lower Your Center of Gravity (Shed Bad Baggage): Systems with lower center of gravity and wider foundation are more stable to external forces and develop lesser stresses. An inverted Cone is a great example of a stable system. Wider your foundation is and lesser bad baggage you have to carry in your startup journey, lesser will be stresses for you and your team/company. Make sure you build a great foundation before you grow up. Make sure bad employees, partners, sellers etc are thrown out of your “Cone” to ensure more stability for your company.
5. Increase Particle to Particle Interaction (Promote Communication): Almost all the matter in this world is held together by four fundamental particle to particle interactions – Gravity, Electromagnetic, Weak and Strong Forces. These interactions help matter withstand external forces and internal stresses. Similarly your startup will stand together with minimal stresses, if there is better communication between team members, between you and team members, between your company and customers/sellers and between you and your investors. Lesser the interaction will be, weaker your company will be and more likely to fail with slightest of stresses.
I hope you all can benefit from these basic laws of Physics to reduce your stress. And always remember “Stress” is your own internal reaction and “Not Given” to you. While you cannot manage external factors which are causing it, you can manage “internal stress” it by following some “Laws of Physics”.