HAVE you read any of the articles in the media about stress at work and how many workdays are lost because of it?

There are many reasons why people get stressed. Dealing with other people is one of the main causes of negative stress. Dealing with customers, your boss, the people who work for you and other colleagues can be extremely stressful.

I continually hear comments like: "Why does he want me to do that?" or "How am I supposed to know what she's thinking?" or "Why do they behave like that?"

We can get extremely stressed when people don't see things the way we do. Well, let me make something really clear - other people don't see things the way you or I do and they might never do.

Every human being is different, but some of us share similar tastes and values and that's why we become friends. However, as you well know, even your closest friends and the person you share your life with, still see the world differently from you.

Your customers, your boss, your staff and your colleagues all see the world and situations differently from you - and they're not necessarily doing or saying something just to annoy you! In any situation, there will always be "the way I see it", "the way you see it" and "the way it is".

If I have to meet someone, I am always on time (the way I see it). Some people who meet me always turn up late (the way they see it). It's up to me to make allowances for this when making an arrangement to meet these people (the way it is).

There is absolutely no point in getting stressed over the fact that these people don't see timekeeping in the same way I see it. Getting stressed is bad for me and it doesn't change the situation.

When you are dealing with other people think to yourself: "Do they decide how I'll behave or do I decide how I'll behave?"

Let me tell you a quick story. Two men used to leave the same office every night and walk to the bus stop. On the way, one of the men would stop and buy a newspaper from a news stand at the side of the road.

The old man who ran the news stand was always grumpy and ill- mannered. However, the man who bought the newspaper was always polite and courteous to the old man. One evening the man's friend said: "I don't understand why you're always so polite and courteous to that guy, he's always so rude."

The other man replied: "I will not allow that man's behaviour to decide mine. I will decide my own behaviour and I'll always treat him with courtesy and respect; how he behaves is up to him."

So don't let your customers or anyone else "stress you out". Just remember, they just see the world in a different way.

As an oft-quoted Sioux Indian saying goes: "Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked a mile in his moccasins."