CHAPTER 5Building a Challenge Mindset

“Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”

—Martin Luther King Jr. (American Baptist minister and civil rights activist)

How you think about stress matters enormously in terms of how you process it. Some people see stress as a threat, while others are able to view it as a challenge. With a challenge response, you get additional energy, your heart rate rises, and your adrenaline goes up, but it differs in a few important ways from fight or flight:

  • You feel focused instead of fearful.
  • You release a different ratio of stress hormones.
  • You are more easily able to access your mental and physical resources.

The result is enhanced concentration, confidence, and peak performance. In fact, people who are able to think about stress more like a challenge and less like a threat report lower depression and anxiety, higher levels of energy, better work performance, and increased life satisfaction. Hardiness-challenge is a positive perspective on change and variety in life. People high in challenge tend to take changes in stride, see variety as part of the richness of life, and are optimistic about the future.

On the opposite pole, people low in challenge are always seeking security, want everything to be simple and predictable, and are fearful of the future. Considering this, this chapter lays out steps you can take to help you build your hardiness-challenge. ...

Get Hardiness now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.