Shape Stress for Success (with practical tips)
Ready for the onslaught of fists, spitting and shouting, I throw up my best defensive stance, in preparation to tell my clients they need to increase stress – “what the hell are you talking about you idiot! I live in a world of stress, all I do is stress!”
As they settle and I catch my breath, I explain. Physiologists break stress into two separate terms, eustress and distress. We all know what distress is – extreme anxiety, sorrow, pain or unhealthy stress such living an un-fulfilling lifestyle, getting attacked or losing a loved one. We don’t have too much stress in our current age; we have too much distress and not enough eustress.
Eustress literally means “good stress”. The prefix eu- derives from the Greek word meaning either “well” or “good.” When completing challenges such as jumping out an aeroplane (with a parachute), doing great in a job interview or achieving a goal, you have a huge rush of satisfaction and a feeling of achievement. You have used the drive that eustress has provided to conquer a challenge, to accomplish – this is the tool that pushes you towards your goal.
Don’t Should (or like) Yourself
I should do what I love
I should read that book
I’d like to be a professional rugby player
95% of people live in a world of should do’s, never turning them into actions. Turn “shoulds into musts” if you really want to push forward and achieve your aspiration.
I must do what I love
I must read that book
I must become a professional rugby player
Must is where the gold lies. You’ll hear it in hundreds of motivational videos – “you need to want success as much as you want to breathe!!” If you must achieve something, you will find a way. Since to you, there is no other option. “Musts” is the purest form of eustress, here’s how to generate it:
Turning “Should and Like” into Must
It’s all very well and good telling you that you need to turn should into must but it is vital that you truly feel like you must achieve your goal, not just tell yourself you must.
Have you ever heard of the Alpo Diet? Invite a dozen friends over to your house. Tell them by the end of the month you’re going to lose 10lb, and if you don’t you’ll eat the can of Alpo (dog food) in front of them. This is the perfect example of turning should into must.
Why is this so successful? You are creating eustress. You’ve set a deadline, friends are holding you responsible and you’ll have to eat a can of dog food if you don’t succeed. If you ever feel like having a nibble on that chocolate cake – take a big whiff of that dog food and see if it’ll change your mind.
You see, setting goals to achieve pleasure is great but it only takes you so far, many find it hard to imagine what the success feel like. However, everyone is scared of failure especially if you’re being held responsible. Here are some suggestions to help you create eustress (turning should into must):
Set a date: Setting a deadline is a good way of creating eustress. Think about when you have a school or work deadline closing in, you’re not worried about “motivation” or having a break. You’re working like a machine! Insure you jot it down on paper and remind yourself of this deadline.
Get it out there: Tell friends and family about your goal and the deadline. Talk to people about what you’ve done, enlist their help and make them hold you responsible. You won’t want to let your friends and family down as well as yourself. Make people hold you responsible, show them conviction.
If you’re goal is an aesthetic one, hand your friends and family a before photo and tell them when you’re going put up an after. Dan John suggests doing the same, but on an internet forum. Post a before photo and if you don’t post the after photo, tell them to keep bumping the shameful before shot until you come through with an after. This may should crazy but crazy is good because you’re creating stress.
Pain and Pleasure Table: Like I said, fear of failure usually motivates us more than a chance of future success. What will happen if you fail to achieve your goal and what will happen achieve it? It is a real jumpstart filling in the pain table. Make sure you place this table where you will see it daily.
Test Yourself (Compete): If you’re goal is to become a professional rugby player find the best time you can join and seek to compete against the best. If you want to get as strong as you can, compete in powerlifting meets. This approach is my favorite – you learn from the best, you see what is possible, you receive inspiration and more importantly it’s great fun.
In conclusion, get stressed. Many of us don’t get enough eustress in our lives. Eustress is the catalyst for positive change, it will lead you to achieve your goals and most importantly add excitement and pleasure to our lives. It’s scary to do but that’s half the thrill of it. The tips presented to you are ones I have used to create eustress, if you have your own methods or suggestions please comment below as myself and many others would love to hear them.