The Peaks Follow The Troughs

We know that putting off what should be done today until tomorrow is not beneficial to us in the long-term, but we do it anyway, as all that matters to us in the moment is not feeling this very natural feeling that may not be very pleasant.

It’s a hard one to remember.

When you’re at the bottom of a trough and nothing seems to be going your way, it seems as though this is the way it’s going to be forever.

Nothing is going to get better. You’re doomed to failure. Life is awful. And there’s little point in trying as there’s nothing you can do anyway.

You have two options here as I see it. You can sit idle and be passive, believing that there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop the rot. Or you can harness this anxiety and dread that you’re feeling and use it to spur you into action. Turn the negative into a positive.

What you’re feeling in this moment is completely normal. Anxiety is our in-built survival mechanism that has helped us to protect ourselves and live to fight another day for aeons. 

However, as we have evolved, at the same rate as society’s progression in terms of science and modern medicine, it has become easier than ever to survive in the western world. It has become more ok to feel anxiety and then meet it with apathy and inactivity. We know that we will survive regardless so we can choose to be idle and not use our feelings of impending doom and catastrophe to further our cause to do better. We can choose to dampen our feelings of anxiety and dread with cheap thrills and copious amounts of pleasure-filled activities. We can choose not to double down and work harder, smarter and learn the necessary lessons for our development.

We know that putting off what should be done today until tomorrow is not beneficial to us in the long-term, but we do it anyway, as all that matters to us in the moment is not feeling this very natural feeling that may not be very pleasant.

But we’re not meant to feel pleasant all of the time. If we sat in a vacuum of pleasure and comfort eternally, then we wouldn’t be stimulated to grow, adapt, overcome and evolve. Stress is necessary for our survival, but all too regularly we forget this.

Eustress is defined as a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being.

So therefore it’s not about never feeling stress at all, but striving for an optimal amount of stress to improve our position within the world, our understanding of ourselves and our knowledge and wisdom of the universe. When we do that, we can then make our own attempts at contribution to others and society at large, taking part in the hopefully, mutually beneficial ecosystem of the earth and the human race.

So, therefore it’s useful to remember that although anxiety is an unpleasant feeling, we wouldn’t be where we are now without it. And you wouldn’t be where you are now without it either. Every peak in your life has come after a trough and every peak thereafter will come after a trough as well. So, it’s imperative that you understand that if you’re in a period of high stress, anxiety and pressure to perform at the moment, as long as you use it effectively, then there’s a peak coming just around the corner for you.

Apathy and inaction will only prolong this trough. Working to do better, strive for more and get out of it is the only way that you will. Sure, it might take longer than expected, but the only way to have full confidence that you’ll remain where you are is to learn nothing, try nothing and do nothing.

So, we should always be striving to feel some level of stress in our lives. Not only for ourselves, but for everyone around us too. The trick is to try to feel the right amount of stress at the right time to stimulate our growth and improvement.

Dig your own troughs. Seek eustress. Live just outside your comfort zone.

That’s the only way that you’re going to reach the peaks.

But once you get to the top of a peak, make sure you take the time to smell the roses and feel the open air.

You won’t be at the peak forever.

Nor should you be.

Don’t Stop Here

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