by Peter Bregman | 7:00 AM July 10, 2012

Imagine you’re sailing in the Bahamas, sipping a cold drink and listening to the water lapping the sides of the boat.

Relaxing, right? Not for my friend Rob.*

Rob is not usually stressed-out. For many people, Rob’s daily work would be hair-pulling stressful — he’s a real estate developer who routinely deals with a multitude of nagging problems related to renters, banks, lawsuits, property management, and rapidly changing valuations. But Rob routinely handles it all with steadiness and perspective.

So why was he stressed that blissful day on his boat? The same reason most of us get stressed: frustrated expectations. Rob had an important call to make and his cell phone wasn’t working. He was experiencing the gap between what he expected to happen and what was actually happening.

That’s the underlying cause of stress and it’s afflicting us more these days than ever because our expectations keep rising, thanks in part to exponential improvements in our technology.

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Read the full article on HBR.

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