The Stress Test



The Stress Test

The Stress Test, designed to determine the capabilities of a person or a thing under extreme conditions. To bring this point home you can look at the unfortunate recent events at Grenfell Tower where certain shortcomings (Stresses) were highlighted yet not actioned and it took that fatal day of June 14th 2017 to bring it all home at an unacceptable cost of human lives.

On a personal level, even though we as human beings can’t completely eliminate stress from our lives, we can learn and incorporate sound ways to manage and prevent much of the stress we experience in our lives. However, what most of us don’t realise is that a lot of the stress we encounter is self-imposed. We contribute to our own stress when we don’t plan ahead, cheat ourselves on sleep, work too many hours, ignore relationship problems or procrastinate.




Now let’s focus on two type of Stressors

Intense stressors are situations that come and go over relatively short periods of time. These might include navigating traffic during rush hour, completing your tax returns by a certain due date, trying to meet a tight deadline at work etc. Intense stressors are common and although whilst going through them we might feel uncomfortable we generally tend to regain our physical and emotional balance shortly after encountering them.

Persistent stressors affect us over a prolonged period of time. Examples would be caring for a family member with a serious disability, being laid off and experiencing financial hardship or losing a loved one after suffering a terminal illness.  Persistent stressors can wear us down and even make us ill if they go on long enough by compromising our immune system and impacting our health.


My personal opinion is that The Stress Test is designed to build character and highlight the untapped skills, talents and abilities that we have lying dormant inside. If we go back to my opening example and look at the Grenfell Tower example as tragic as it was, there were many lessons to be learned and good practices to be implemented, which would undoubtedly save lives and improve health and safety.


On the human level, one could argue that stress and The Stress Test is a necessary evil on the journey of getting to where you want to be. The Stress Test is part of your preparation, it’s training you and developing your character to be the person you need to be, to do the job you’ve been called to do.

That said it’s amazing that when the stress comes many will say that they did not sign up for it and want to quit. When you’re under stress, take the stress for what it is, your opportunity to learn and grow. For example, a boxer when hit under a barrage of punches, can be said to be under immense stress in that moment. However, he can decide to throw in the towel or he can exercise a few options. Drop to a knee and take a standing 8 count, hold onto his opponent for dear life or simply default to evasive manoeuvres.

The choices he makes in that moment will ultimately determine the outcome of the round. We too have choices when put under stress, what choices will you be making? 



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