It’s late July, and I have distant memories of an intense month of May.
I remember it being intense, but at the time, I probably would have described it as “very stressful.”
That’s the benefit of time — as time passes, I don’t truly remember what felt, in the moment, “very stressful” and difficult. I remember it being a highly productive and successful month.
The same is true for last August when I was putting in superhero efforts to pull off an event in the final hours. I know that I really struggled that week — but now my only true memory is the fantastic event that followed.
This is the pattern of acute stress.
Acute stress is a period of high intensity that only lasts for a brief (or at least contained) period of time.
It’s not a constant, refrigerator-hum-type of stress, it’s a difficult period of time that you know isn’t going to last forever.
Acute stress is where growth happens. In the worst case, you learn your limits and can operate more intentionally moving forward.
But in most cases, it levels you up. It raises the baseline of your abilities.
What caused me stress three years ago doesn’t phase me now. What causes me stress now won’t phase me a year from now!
Embrace acute stress. When you are feeling the pain, look for the light at the end of the tunnel — when will it come? And when it comes, how will you know?
If you look back on this stress a year from now, will you truly remember it?
And what will you have accomplished?