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There are different stressors in life. Psychologist have identified 3 and they are: stress, distress, and eustress. Stress is the day-to-day pressures that we go through, like fighting traffic to get to the job, the stress of waking up early, or the stress related to some medium level challenge.
Distress occurs when the task is overwhelming and we are close to throwing in the towel. We are spread too thin, carrying too much, or mentally checked out.
But Eustress on the other hand is not really spoken about much. Eustress is what we feel when we willingly & purposely place ourselves under some type of stress to achieve a payout or reward of some type. Eustress is typically a positive type of stress -for instance, starting something new like learning a new language, writing chapters for a new book, training for an expedition in the Arctic Circle, or striving for new gains at the gym.
It can also be entirely mental. Eustress can be the positive stress you feel as a business owner when you keep hitting walls, but you continue to try because you love what you do.
In her best-selling book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” Angela Duckworth makes the interesting point that most things that people say are their passions, do not always begin as a passion. They begin as different measures of stress in pursuit of some type of personal excellence. The road to your goal is not straight; its stressful and jagged. Top professionals, artists, academics, entrepreneurs, and the highly skilled know this principle: if you are to be great at your craft, then you have to embrace positive stress and discomfort.
At the organization change level, this is also the case. When an organization is comfortable it doesn’t change. Change happens at the edge of chaos. If we are going to get to the next level in our respective crafts, we need to embrace uncomfortable stress.
Of course, we need to discriminate what kind of stress we are experiencing. Embracing distress or stress from something harmful is self-deprecating. On the other hand, charging against the winds of normal pressure leads to the next level of personal growth.