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Stress is good

My writing tool of choice is called The Most Dangerous Writing App

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you plan to write for 20min. Once you start writing, you can’t stop until your 20 minutes are done. If you pause for more than a few seconds, you lose everything you’ve written so far.

Sounds stressful?


  • How about lifting weights? or
  • Doing a Hanumanasana split? or
  • Working through a tough programming problem? or
  • Dealing with a frustrated customer? or
  • Inspiring your team when the chips are down?

Those are all stressful as well.


What is stress though? Is it the pressure we feel in a tough situation or is it the emotional downside of the pressure?

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

Since we always have the freedom to choose our response to any situation, the emotional downside can be reduced. Or replaced with a feeling of calmness. Or you could even choose to double it up with a sense of enthusiasm and gratitude.

But how do you do that?


Think of the tough situation you’re in as a “training ground”.

At one end of the spectrum, I’m using my dangerous writing tool as a training ground to help me sustain through my writing blocks.

On the other end, I’m dealing with a tough situation at work. A situation I didn’t choose to create. But I could still see it as a training ground – an opportunity to make myself stronger in dealing with tough people situations.

The moment I choose to see it as a training ground, I can see that “stress” is just pressure – rather than a negative emotional state.


“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.” Ben Carson

The only way we can grow physically, mentally, or emotionally is when we’re subjected to pressure.

When we create our own training grounds, we grow.

When we choose to convert whatever is dropped on us into training grounds as well, we grow even more.

For a seed to grow into a plant, it has to first sprout and thrust itself out of the ground. The ground makes it tough for the seed. But without the ground, there would never be a tree.

PS: I learned the idea of the “training ground” from Leo Babauta.

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