Stress: Do We Need It?

Is stress really necessary for success?


Stress is often considered a defining trait for success. Many individuals believe that idleness is a vice that leads to poverty, while work and stress are virtues that lead to success. In an extreme measure, this idea has led many to spend their time doing things they define as “productive.”

Most recently even some of the most successful among us see the value in living a more serene life filled with moments of rest, rather than stress. One example is Arianna Huffington, who is one of the co-founders of The Huffington Post. After a particularly stressful day, she found herself collapsed on the floor with a broken cheekbone (her head had slammed into her desk on the way down) due to pure exhaustion. She hadn’t been sleeping more than a few hours every night, and instead of paying attention to her inner self- telling her to slow down- she suffered a collapse. Arianna admits that she had believed the general idea that sleep was essentially a time waster. She has since become an advocate for taking the glamorization out of sleep-deprivation.

She is in the top 1% of viewed profiles on LinkedIn, which she believed was a driving force to her living a stressful life. After the death of her sister, Ms. Boggs started to think very carefully about the meaningful work of doctors and nurses. She realized that these professionals witnessed death on a daily basis. Eventually, Boggs admitted that with all of her stress and success, she also had to sacrifice time and attention from the people that mattered most in her life. Going somewhere to get help was the only way she knew how to get back in touch with herself and with what mattered to her. She now advocates for spending time away from work and to allow the “connections” time to recharge.

At the end of the day, it all comes back to what Joseph Bailey says in his book “The Serenity Principle” that it is a myth to believe stress is necessary for creativity, productivity, motivation, learning, and growth. To quote him, “[A] more productive way to be creative is through inspiration.” He goes on to assert that resting our ego and allowing our mind to sit quietly helps us to accomplish more.

A simple understanding of where stress actually comes from along with self-awareness are relevant in bringing us contentment beyond any amount of wealth or social acclaim. While being productive can be a very satisfying aspect of our lives, it does not have to be defined by what others think. Understanding the true nature of thought and allowing ourselves time for insight can actually boost production and help us obtain the resiliency needed to serenely get through those “busy” times in our lives.


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Source: How to succeed? Get more sleep | Arianna Huffington


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