The duality of stress and fear

Stress and fear are typically considered bad, negative things.

A stressful job can lead to burnout, a stressful relationship can lead to a break up, and a stressful, traumatic event like a mugging or theft of your home can lead to emotional problems.

Fear is similar. A fear of failure might keep you from taking chances, a fear of bugs may keep you up at night, and a fear of death might keep you locked up in your house all the time.

Stress and fear can be extremely powerful motivators as well.

The stress of a looming deadline can get you going and force you to do your best work. Sometimes you need that pressure to step up your game.

Fear and paranoia that your competition is catching up to you can motivate you to work that much harder. Even if you’re #1 in your market, fear that the little guy might out-innovate you is a healthy thing that will help you continually improve.

But if the healthy stress and fear are taken too far, they’ll turn into the unhealthy stress and fear.

If you often leave too little time before project deadlines, the repetitive and constant stress won’t be good for your health or career.

If you fear your competition too much, you might take too many unnecessary risks to stay ahead.

Finding that balance where stress and fear leads to optimal performance is the key.

This is day 28 of my experiment to blog for 30 consecutive days.

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