We're WRONG About Stress

How to Harness Stress for Focus

Happy Tuesday and Welcome back to… THE JAILBREAK.
(along with 650+ readers 🗝️ )

Before we get started I have a quick announcement:

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Stress is ENHANCING,

Today I want to talk about another mindset that might seem counterintuitive at first – the Stress-Is-Enhancing Mindset.

Instead of seeing stress as purely harmful… 🤕 

This mindset turns stress into a source of:

  • ENERGY ⚡️ 

  • GROWTH 🪴

  • and FOCUS 💨 

This mindset reprograms our stress response, transforming it from a threat to a challenge that can propel us forward…

Instead of giving us a mental breakdown! 🧠 

Here’s how to harness stress:

The (Weird) Science of Stress

Research has shown that our perception of stress greatly influences its impact on our health and well-beingnot stress itself.

Health Psychologist Kelly McGonigal conducted a pivotal study that transformed our understanding of how we view stress.

In her research, she found that stress itself is not the enemy; our perception of it is what truly matters.

One of her key findings was that individuals who viewed stress as a helpful part of their lives experienced better health and well-being than those who perceived stress as harmful.

This is groundbreaking!

We shouldn’t try to eliminate all stress from our lives.

Instead, we should learn how to harness it.

Good Stress (Eustress)
Bad Stress (Distress)

Consider athletes who perform under high pressure.

They often view stress as a necessary part of achieving peak performance.

This positive stress, known as 'Eustress', can lead to improved focus, energy, and motivation.

Similarly, in the business world, entrepreneurs often thrive under stressful situations, using that adrenaline rush to fuel creativity and decision-making.

It's not that these individuals don't experience stress.

They've just learned to use it as a driving force.

This Mindset Made Me $100K

I learned about this mindset at one of the most important moments of my life:

In 2019 I joined a coding bootcamp.

It was a brutal grind. Coding every day from 9am to 5pm.

It was rigorous, demanding, and yes, incredibly stressful. 😵‍💫 

But the real challenge came after the bootcamp. Without a college degree, breaking into the tech industry meant I really had to prove myself.

Nearly a year after graduating from the bootcamp, I finally got an interview with VMware, one of my dream companies.

There was just one catch:

I needed to learn SQL, before my technical interview…

In one week... 😨 

This was one of the most stressful moments of my life.

The realization hit me hard - if I didn't master this programming language in a week, I would miss out on my dream job.

But instead of letting this stress overwhelm me…

I used it. ⚡️ 

For the first time in my life, I channeled that pressure into eustress - positive stress that energized and focused me.

When before learning about this mindset, stress like this would’ve:

  • crushed me

  • sent me into a panic attack

  • and probably would’ve caused me to skip the interview altogether.

This high-stakes situation propelled me to learn faster and more efficiently than ever before.

And it paid off. I aced the coding interview and landed the job.

This experience taught me a crucial lesson:

Stress, when harnessed correctly, can be an incredible motivator.

It pushed me beyond my limits and showed me what I was truly capable of achieving.

Cultivating a Stress-Is-Enhancing Mindset

Here are a few tips to rewire your brain so you can start seeing stress as a positive, driving force in your life:

  1. Reframe Your Perspective: Start viewing stressful situations as challenges to overcome rather than insurmountable obstacles.

  2. Recognize Your Strength: Remind yourself of past instances where you’ve successfully handled stress.

  3. Focus on Growth: Look for opportunities in stressful situations that can lead to personal or professional development.

  4. Practice Mindfulness: Engage in mindfulness exercises to stay grounded and focused during stressful times.

  5. Physical Activity: Regular exercise can help manage stress and transform it into positive energy.

By changing how we perceive and react to stress, we can transform it into a catalyst for growth and success.

It’s not stress, it’s pressure.

And pressure to turn coal into diamonds. 💎 

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Thanks for reading another issue of THE JAILBREAK!

See you Friday in the Premium Edition,
- Jack Ross ✌️

Jack Ross (Data Engineer, Writer, Nomad)

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