Don’t mistake stressor and stress. The failure to deal with both can hurt you.

Photo by author and courtesy of Chuck Black Photography

Dealing with your stress is different from dealing with your stressors. You need to address both if you want to live a happy and healthy life. So what is the difference, and how do you healthily manage your stress?


Stressors are what causes stress. They can be anything you fear could do you harm. They include external factors such as your job, money problems, family issues, culture, and politics. Stressors can also be internal, like self-criticism, identity, self-worth, body image, and past events. …

Photo by Charles Black

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have one job in life, and that is to get the best out of yourself. To become the best you can be and live the best life you can. Sounds easy, right?

It is hard to know what the best you looks like and how to become that person. You live in a world of constant media assault. Television actors show you how Hollywood thinks you should look. Advertisements tell you what car to drive, what clothes to wear, and even what alcohol brand will make you most attractive to the opposite sex. Informercials show you what you could be and then offer to help you become fitter, more…

One simple change in my approach to handling money made a million differences in my bank balance.

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

You want to save more money. You dream of one day having enough money that you don’t need to worry about your finances ever again. To do that, you need to start saving and investing. Today.

However, at the end of every month, you look at your bank balance and find no money left for the future. And, thanks to the power of compound interest, each month you don’t invest is more than one month you get behind on your dream.

You know you need to get started today. That waiting that one more month is putting your future in…

Persistence can be your friend or your enemy. Learn how to employ persistence so it helps rather than hurts you.

Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash

“We need to go open,” I said as I watched the dark blood well up in the middle of a “routine” laparoscopic gallbladder surgery.

“Just get the instruments open, we don’t have time to count them,” I said. “And get me a knife.”

My routine surgery had just taken an unexpected and horrible turn. As I was dissecting at the gallbladder’s base, I encountered a large vein that should not have been there. When I tried to move that vein out of the surgical field, it burst and bled — a lot. I tried a couple of maneuvers to slow…

What if we have stress all wrong. Rather than a drag on your life, stress may be your key to success.

Photo by Mahdi Dastmard on Unsplash

We are told that stress is bad for us. It is blamed for obesity, heart disease, stomach ulcers, insomnia, and the inability to concentrate just to name a few. But what if I told you that stress is not your enemy. Instead, it’s a friend here to help you not hurt you.

The most recent research on stress indicates that stress can make us smarter, stronger, and more successful. Stress can help you to face challenges and to learn and grow from those challenges.

Changing your mind about stress won’t just give you a better attitude about stress, it will…

One of the most important secrets to avoid problems with jerks is to make sure you don’t become one of them.

Photo by the author and courtesy of Chuck Black Photography

An oversized pickup pulled out in front of me without enough room. As the driver gunned the motor and released a James Bond-worthy cloud of black, greasy smoke, I hit my brakes to avoid rear-ending them. Then I got the privilege of breathing in the stench of that diesel exhaust. Meanwhile, I looked in my review mirror to see plenty of space behind me where the driver could have easily merged.

“What a jerk!” sprung to mind. Well, ok. Maybe the word wasn’t “jerk,” but I’m trying to be better.

But is the driver really a jerk? How would I…

Learn about the High-Road to Willpower and how to use it to get better results with less effort

Photo by Charles Black courtesy of Chuck Black Photography

“My own behavior baffles me.

For I find myself doing what I really loathe

but not doing what I really want to do.”

— St. Paul

Ever feel like you don’t have enough willpower to achieve your goals, like losing weight, getting in shape, or starting a side hustle. There are ways to improve your willpower, but that may not be enough. In this article, I will explain the difference between the Low-Road and the High-Road of Willpower so you can accomplish what you want to achieve.

Willpower is Limited

Willpower is an exhaustible resource. We only have so much will each day…

You don’t fear death. What you fear is failing to seize the opportunity to live and dying with regret.

Photo by the author and courtesy of Chuck Black Photography

“People living deeply have no fear of death.” — Anaïs Nin

Why do we fear death? After all, it is a universal fear. I am not talking about fearing the process of dying, which may be unpleasant. I’m talking about the fear of being dead.

I imagine that the time after my death will be much the same as the time before my birth. And that is nothing to fear. There was no pain or suffering before I existed, and I have no reason to think it will be any different when I depart.

Ancient Take on Death.

My thinking here mirrors the Greek…

If you can learn to accept things as they are and enjoy what you have, you can open the door to a more satisfying experience.

The late afternoon sun beamed in warm and bright as my three children played happily on the floor. They were getting along nicely as they built a winding track for Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. It was an ideal moment, but I was miserable.

As my children played, I sulked on the couch, lamenting that I could not enjoy this time. I couldn’t be happy because I was on call for surgery. The hospital could call me at any moment, and that knowledge hung over me like the sword of Damocles. It felt unfair to me. Other people…

If you’re not getting the results you want out of life, start by looking within.

Photo by author and courtesy of Chuck Black Photography

You might be thinking, “I don’t need a philosophy of life.” Of course, you are right, but not for the reason you think.

You don’t need to develop a philosophy of life because you already have one. That’s right. You are already using a philosophy to guide your life. All your ideas about pursuing success and what success even looks like are your philosophy of life.

The big question here is: Is the philosophy I’m using getting me the results I want? Do you even want the things you are pursuing? Or is your philosophy a hand-me-down, mixed bag of…

Charles Black M.D.

Dr. Charles Black is a general surgeon, author, photographer, outdoorsman, world traveler and fireside philosopher. Website:

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