In this short article about interior negotiation, discover how to use the power of IF to keep you on track and reduce your stress.


You have a choice.

Every day you have a choice.

In fact, you have many choices.

You often forget this small, important fact.

In fact, you usually feel pretty trapped before your day even begins.

But if you will employ this small, powerful technology in your life, you will discover a power that will propel you to greatness.

Start here.

Begin by reading this short poem by one of the great poets — Rudyard Kipling.

And yes, you have a choice here.

You could decide that you don’t have time for any silly old poetry in your already over-stressed life.

You could pass.

But you pass at your own peril.

This brief poem holds a powerful secret to success and happiness.

Here’s the poem:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

And here is the power of IF:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

OK, interesting — but now what?

First, think about what you just read.

What is it saying?

It’s saying that if you will trust yourself when everything around you is falling apart, then you will succeed in life.

If you internalize this concept, you will instantly reduce your stress level by at least 50 percent.

Oh, come on — really?



Because at least half of your stress comes from not having a strong center of gravity — from not having a strong sense of yourself and thus not trusting yourself.

When you don’t trust that you’re OK despite what everyone else seems to be telling you — (and what your inner voices are sometimes telling you) — you get overwhelmed and lost, and you lose faith in yourself.

However, if you will tap into the power of IF — if you will learn to trust yourself — you will feel less overwhelmed, and your confidence will rise.

So you may be wondering — how can I tap into this power of IF in my everyday life to keep my life on track and reduce my stress?

This is what we really need to know.

Yes, you’re right.

And here’s how.

Take these three steps.

1. Act courageously.

This is the first step.

But how can I act courageously when I’m feeling down?

First of all, take a look at what courage is.

To act courageously means that in spite of your fear, in spite of your dread, in spite of your stress — you move ahead.

It’s a decision before it is a feeling.

Once you realize that you have a choice at any given moment to act with courage or cowardice, the awareness of the choice itself will give you a measuring stick for your life and can have the power to motivate you.

Remember that courage comes from the French work coeur, which is the heart.

To have courage really just means to act wholeheartedly.

And each small step you take with courage adds up.

Every time you move ahead despite your fear and shame, you build your confidence.

2. Trust yourself.

“But what if I don’t believe in myself?” you’re thinking.

And it’s a valid point.

You have been taught from an early age that you’re an idiot.

Most of your creative, authentic thoughts and actions were heavily sanctioned at home and at school.

So here is what to do.

And this will take some effort, but I promise you — it will be worth it.

Don’t overthink it.

In his groundbreaking work on trusting yourself, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a small, important book called Blink.

You may want to check it out.

But here is the main concept: trust your gut.

Your gut is usually right — you’ve just forgotten how to trust your gut.

So the challenge is to begin again to trust your first thoughts.

It’s like the old adage about taking a test — trust your first thought.

It’s usually right.

And here is where the rubber meets the road.

3. Use the power of IF.

Take a look at this small, effective tool to employ the power of IF.

It will take you about 1 minute to open it, take a look, and decide if it might help you.

Take a look at the tool here.

Basically, what this tool does is ask you a a few simple questions, with the purpose of helping you ask one central question: “What’s happening here — and how can I navigate this situation?”

In other words, use this tool when you hit the wall with a vendor or contractor or boss or employee, or spouse, or any other relationship.

This tool will help you take into account the factors that are stressing you out, and help you make a plan to move ahead despite your fears and anxieties.

You may print out the tool on paper.

You can also print it out as a PDF, which can then be filled out electronically on your computer or other hand-held device.

Feel free to use it as often as you’d like.

The point is to externalize what is trapped inside of you and stressing you out, and to help you move ahead in your ongoing, interior negotiations.

As always, feel free to be in touch as you explore this topic.

I am available to listen to your questions, give you feedback, and point you further down the road to your happiness and success.

Just write to me at, and I’ll be glad to get back to you.