Controlled Exposure to Stress, a Recipe for Greatness
(Originally posted as a tweetstorm here)
It’s clear to me that voluntary, deliberate, attentive exposure to your highest level of acceptable stress is the single simplest recipe for Greatness. It’s no joke: What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
What is Greatness? My framing of “greatness” is, to be “The One” (Matrix reference) of your own story. To be The One, you have to push/understand your limits, and realize you have none in some areas. How else will you recognize the god within you?
Controlled stress exposure is key to getting into the flow state, and being in flow makes every experience heightened. You may achieve things you never believed possible in this state.
Workplace: Work for progressively smaller and high-risk/high-return companies. Less process, more chaos. Also usually more stress and more unrealistic, daunting goals. Almost no person that’s worked for a startup will tell you they wish they didn’t.
Work: Pick up the project or the mandate that you’re sure you can’t deliver at your current skill level, and deliver it. Self-efficacy and eventually self-actualization is a process of collecting experiences
Learning: Learn a language you can’t speak. Learn to play an instrument. Learning new, challenging things sharpens the mind, challenges the “default state”, keeps you in a state of flow, and interestingly+usefully, keeps you humble
Physical Health: Strength training! This is largely a process of hitting your personal best every week. Progressively increase the weights, progressively run faster, progressively beat yourself.
Travel: Go from being a tourist to being a traveler. The secret to enjoying a trip is to live like a local. Local food, local language, local music, local shops. Tourist trips are sterile and boring. Travel is unpredictable and enriching.
You don’t have to believe me on this topic: The benefit of voluntary exposure to progressively higher stress is best described by @nntaleb in his seminal work: Antifragile. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and re-read excerpts from. I highly recommend it.
Seek out discomfort and mild, controllable stress - you’ll be much better off for it.