Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Gift of Adversity

We've all heard it before, something about a piece of sand, an oyster, and a pearl. Or there are those perseverance motivational posters, which of course make me NOT want to persevere just because the posters are so darn upbeat.

But there is something about being a little older and wiser than I once was that is causing me to understand that many of these vague tidbits of philosophy are actually true.

I remember being in junior high, and there was some class where the teacher was talking about the difference between eustress and distress. Eustress being the type of stress that causes a positive response. In our sand and oyster scenario, I suppose this would be the bit of sand that turns into a pearl as opposed to distress, which would be like the oyster getting sandblasted. Probably no pearls there.

What I'm getting at here though, is that I'm starting to experience this concept and actually be able to cognitively reflect on it. Not that my life is particularly adversarial or anything. I'm just saying that I see a more diligent side to me when I am faced with some kind of stressor.

Busy day at work: more gets accomplished in a more diligent and efficient manor. Slow day at work: eh, I can do that later . . .

Perhaps everyone else is ahead of me on this one, so I apologize if I am stating the obvious. It's just that I've been a lot more aware of my pieces of sand that have become pearls.


  1. Great observation! Reminds me of the psychology book on flow theory that I mentioned. You might find it relevant to your own thoughts:

    Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience


    1. I like how a relatively existential psychological concept is illustrated by a girl making a friendship bracelet . . . :)