Spend any amount of time working on Wall Street and you will soon learn that opportunities for stress abound, whether you're a first -year analyst getting reamed out for an extra space in a pitchbook or a hedge fund manager who just lost $1.2 billion in a matter of minutes. Those who are unable to manage the stress either 1) flame out or 2) become fat, irritable pricks whose change of having a heart attack on the job are high. Presumably, neither of those options sound appealing. But since the terms of the gig aren't changing, what's a ball of nerves like you to do? You might consider risking having the skin burned off your feet, or other such activities.
According to Cornell professor Tony Simons, things like a 10,000 point drop in the Dow or seeing a headline flash across Bloomberg that your firm is being indicted-- things that you have no control over- become a lot less scary and cause for flipping out when you've been through worse. For instance, at the workshops and corporate training classes he teaches, Simons will have people do exercises like"firewalks" or have them "snap an arrow that sticks out of a wall with the point in the direction of their neck, by stepping forward and pushing into it." After that, dealing with stuff you previously thought was tough is pretty easy (sayeth one participant: "facing a loved one’s anger and negativity with calm, loving courage and not ducking away from it feels easier after breaking an arrow with the soft part of my throat"). One woman is reportedly planning to "get a firewalk tattoo to remind her of what she’s accomplished."
For any employers out there thinking putting on their own Simons-esque workshop but desiring even better results, consider gathering up your employees and having them:
* Commit to rollerblading down the Westside Highway to work for a year
* Catch a bullet in their teeth
* Play Spin the Bottle with Rick Santelli's favorite floor traders
* Go through the browser history of everyone at the SEC (no averting of eyes)
* Get caught on tape letting Hank Paulson's parakeet out of its cage
* Change the bed sheets of a certain NYU economics professor after a long weekend