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Thrive Like Trees: Why We Need Stress For Success

Updated: Apr 29

There is a research facility in Oracle, Arizona called Biosphere 2, where scientists conduct ecological research on what are essentially indoor forests.  Scientists there observed that the trees grew faster than they did outside the biosphere, but would fall over before they reached maturity. 

The cause of this was a mystery for a number of years until they realised that the lack of wind in the biosphere meant that the trees didn’t develop “stress wood,” and a strong enough root system to keep themselves upright against the weight of their canopies. They’d essentially skipped leg day their entire lives and it caught up with them.  

In some respects, humans are like trees - we need stress in order to thrive, yes, I said thrive.  Obviously there is a balance - not enough, and we get bored, fall over and die (sounds a little extreme, but think of retirees with not a lot to do); too much of the wrong stress (distress) and we experience overwhelm and burnout, or get blown over and die.  But the goldilocks amount of stress (eustress) helps us develop resilience, solutions, learn and grow, develop support structures, build empires, conquer foreign lands and look fabulous while doing it.  

Furthermore, when we don’t give ourselves challenges that excite and inspire us, life throws us challenges that don’t. Ever felt like you’re spending too much time on excessive, irrelevant admin, irritating nonsense or meaningless chores? That’s the result of not filling your time with enough stuff that gets your juices flowing.  It’s simple feedback to let you know you need to occupy your time with more meaningful challenges. But how do you do that when you have all this other crap to deal with? Simple answer: make a plan.

We’re going to discuss how to do this at my upcoming workshop this Saturday 4th May, so if any of this sounds scarily familiar and you’d like to know what you can do about it, click HERE and book your space now.   

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