Indian Rhino Checking Us Out
Two tons of potential stress just relaxing. and Robert Hruzek of are joining forces again to talk about what we’ve learned from stress. (The project is still open, just visit that link if you want to participate.)

The Reality of Stress

Stress is a core reality in this fallen world we live in. There is no such thing as a care free life, at least not one that’s firmly anchored in reality.

I think one key to happiness, or even survival then is to get a firm grasp of what really stresses you out. We’re all different and things affect us all differently.

An ordinary person spends his life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting in to tense situations. — Bud in Repo Man

Throughout my career I’ve had what most folks would consider fairly stressful jobs. I prefer to think of them as high intensity jobs.

Stress from Physical Danger

I’ve worked in some physically dangerous environments. Whether it was the fight deck of an aircraft carrier or on the docks working cargo operations, I’ve seen a few men killed by work related accidents while I was on the job.

I’ve even been hurt myself. Loosing focus for even a fraction of a second can have disastrous consequences. My left index finger has a nice little scar to remind me how easily I could have lost a fingertip hooking up cargo to a ship’s crane one day.

And I watched in stunned horror one bright morning when a friend of mine ejected from his F/A-18 as it rolled over immediately after launching from the front of the carrier. He waited just a moment too long to pull the handle and ejected down into the water. His mistake was fatal.

But I boarded my plane just the same and rode down that same catapult into the sky, all kinds of questions swirling through my brain.

That stress of physical danger never seemed to bother me all that much. What it did was serve to keep me paying attention.

Unexpected Stress

It wasn’t until I became The Lonely Entrepreneur that I really had to deal with negative affects of stress. For me stress came from an unexpected direction.

Turns out I’m a little like Eddie, the dog from Frasier. The way the story goes, Moose, the Jack Russel Terrier that played Eddie was rescued. His original owners thought he was neurotic and unmanageable. However trainer, Matilde DeCagney, discovered that Moose just needed to work. When he was bored he got into trouble.

I guess I’m a little like Moose. I don’t do well when I’m bored.

No Stress More Stressful than Lots of Stress

It sounds weird, but I’ve got a medical bill, hundreds of dollars large, this year to prove that I get stressed out when my environment gets too low in intensity. Since my Lonely Entrepreneur experience earlier in the year I’ve learned how to manage the stress that lack of intensity gives me.

Working out has been a key factor in managing my stress. Exercise gives me an outlet to relieve the stress from too little stress in my life.

Ironically when I took my stress test a few months back the cardiologist ended up cutting it short. He gave up trying to get to my target heart rate after I’d been running on the treadmill twice as long as it usually takes to get people maxed out. Apparently there is nothing wrong with my cardio fitness!

So, to answer Robert’s original question of What I Learned From Stress – I learned that, for some of us, no stress can be more stressful than being in a high stress environment. I guess I’ve got a little repo man in me.

Here’s a little compilation video of Eddie stressing out Frasier I found. Enjoy!

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