Did Your Teacher Tell You About the ‘Highlighter Effect’

Stress-free life is the biggest myth. The world is a crazy place and will remain ever so. Everyone from a kindergarten kid to a retired person to even your house help seem to be running a rat-race. In running endlessly, most of us often miss what was taught back in school – the highlighter effect. Remember your teacher always told you to highlight only the important parts in the book and leave the rest? Well, probably what the teacher didn’t tell you at that time was that the principle applies far beyond books – rather, it is the very essence to living stress free.


Don’t Misuse the Highlighter

If told to highlight the important areas of your work or life, do you end up with highlights all over because everything seems important? Well, you are not alone. Most people who crumble under stress and overload fail to identify their priorities right. They end up doing most things/caring about most people simply because they’ve been doing so/known them for years. The result? They end up with a to-do list overflowing with tasks. A sure fire invitation to stress follows and the story from there on is predictable. The trick is to ask yourself these 3 questions when highlighting:

  • If it were to cost you money for every highlight, would you still mark this part?
  • Is it absolutely worth your time, energy, and emotions?
  • Do you get concrete benefits from this highlight? If yes, what?

The 3 Buckets That Can Change Your Perspective on Everything

The ‘3 buckets’ philosophy comes from 3rd century BC – apparently people back then were much happier and stress-free than most of us today. What did they figure out that we seem to have missed all along? That ‘letting go’ is the best thing to do. But doesn’t that make one a quitter? No, because this is how people in 3rd century BC applied the principle to every situation in their lives – they broke it down into 3 buckets:

  1. Things you can CONTROL (your attitude, emotions, actions)
  2. Things you can NOT control (the weather, life, death, etc.)
  3. Things you can INFLUENCE (others’ thoughts, actions, etc.)

They focussed all their time and energies on bucket A, accepted the things in bucket B, and expected the worst from bucket C.

Say ‘NO’ more often to have a Stress-Free 2017

Life will never be stress-free but that doesn’t mean you have to crumble under stress all the time. Resolve to say NO to these 5 things this year:

    • NO MULTI TASKING: Being a jack of all trades never helped anyone and there’s no reason why you should continue to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. Master the art of delegation instead and hire a virtual assistant for all your non-core personal tasks and professional commitments.


    • NO OVER-COMMITTING: Be it your social, personal, or professional life – reduce the demands on yourself by committing only to what matters most.


    • NO PRIORITIZING OTHERS’ HAPPINESS OVER SELF: You will never be able to make everyone happy, so choose to concentrate on your happiness instead.


    • NO LOSING SLEEP: This holds true for anything – be it a bitter breakup, work problems, health issues, etc. Getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is sacred and there are no two ways about it.


    • NO SACRIFICING HOBBIES: Your hobbies make your persona – so whether it is cooking, travelling, painting, singing, dancing, or anything else – get out there and pursue it!





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