At one of the positive points in our lives, my childhood friend, Stan said, “When I feel pain, I know I’m alive.”
Stress is like that. It’s an unavoidable part of life.
We all know about some distant (or not so distant) relative (usually male) who does his best to avoid discomfort and work. He slides through (and out) of school by sleeping in, skipping out and exerting the absolute minimum of effort to just get by.
He doesn’t go out of his way for anyone. He waits for others to wait on him. He waits for them to tell him what has to be done. He avoids not only exercise but sweating itself. He avoids work as much as possible, and if he manages to get a job, he’ll do the least he can to keep it.
This stress-avoidance strategy ultimately fails. The sloth causes increasing stress to all around him until no further help is available. Ultimately, he’ll face the stress of survival alone . . . and the void of a potential unfulfilled.
Stress is essential to life.
Without positive stress, we would not rise from our beds each morning. Without internal and external stresses to move forward and challenge ourselves, we would never discover new opportunities and grow.
Without the stress of our everyday lives, the stress of pushing our limits, the stress of our failures and the stress of the major and minor traumas in the stories of our lives, we would never grow stronger, wiser or more compassionate.
Next: What’s the “right” amount of stress?