Finding Strength in Stress
July 14, 2020
Sometimes, the strength to go on is found in the very thing that you thought once held you back.
Our situation is dire - no doubt about that - and from the looks of current news cycles parroting the same bleak forecasts of what is still to come, it’s unlikely for us not to be stressed in any capacity at all. It’s even more unlikely for any of us to look at the stress borne from such circumstances and even begin to consider that there might be some source of motivation within it upon which we can draw. However, perhaps something that we often forget in the face of adversity is the fact that we’ve been in those situations before - situations that commanded resilience that drove us towards overcoming it. Try to remember when those times have pushed you toward moments of triumph.
Welcome your frustrations
Success has never come without the infringement of stress. In fact, the two are actually part in parcel of the same package such that to call stress an “infringement" upon our attempts to succeed would be grossly downplaying its role on our motivations and incentives to do so. The most organic ways that we’ve come to grow have always been through experiencing situations that challenge our convictions, knowledge, and skills. To entertain that process, and to allow it to stress us out are the only ways that we have ever learned to thrive. So, whenever you are stressed, no matter the situation or its magnitude and context, you should expect nothing less than to go through that process.
Know yourself and your limits
Sometimes, we forget that stress is something that we can control. For instance, stress might come from having to juggle a rigorous workload in school or a job with personal obligations or difficulties at home. In that case, remember that sometimes you should turn down opportunities that you might not need if they’re not of substantial service/assistance to you. Know what you have the energy and time for. It’s one thing to understand that relentlessly putting yourself out there is the most productive way to experience success in what you value, but it's another to forget that success in and of itself isn’t the baseline requisite for joy and fulfillment in life.
Don’t let stress plunge you into a headspace of catatonia and self-doubt. Often times, this leads to the justification of procrastination, which never helps the situation. Instead, you should envision a solution and set out to make it happen, doing the best that you can with what time, resource, and human bandwidth you have. You might not be getting things right immediately, but part of the perks of taking initiative to do something (early) is that it gives you more time to figure things out. You’re not going to be getting everything right, but the least you can do is make the effort to so that you eventually might. At the very least, you won’t have room for regretting your own indecision and inaction when you look back upon those times.
Think back to when you were able to accomplish something. There was probably some element of stress to it that you had to overcome in succeeding at achieving whatever you’d set out to accomplish. That part of the struggle hardly changes. Stress will continue to be a timeless plague on our efforts to achieve our goals, enrich our character, and to materialize our visions. We just have to come to terms with that and embrace that part of that growing process. Once you’ve figured out what stresses you out and holds you back, move onto exploring what does the contrary. You might be surprised to find out that sometimes, the strength to go on is found in the very thing that you thought once held you back.
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