Subjecting yourself to stress is the only way to systematically get stronger — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And you’ll get weaker if you don’t.
We live by the myth that stress is the enemy in our lives. The real enemy is our failure to balance stress with intermittent rest. Push the body too hard for too long — chronic stress — and the result will indeed be burnout and breakdown. But subject the body to insufficient stress, and it will weaken and atrophy.
Few of us push ourselves nearly hard enough to realize our potential, nor do we rest, sleep, and renew nearly as deeply or for as long as we should.
Interesting commentary about stress and health, from a CEO in the Harvard Business Review, so it has some weight, in that sense. I don’t think life is so much just about reaching our potential, it’s better to say that we live a healthy life all around rather than reaching potential – which often can be interpreted as: getting the greatest accomplishment in one’s career, and what’s not said is how that impacts negatively on one’s personal life and family life.