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Motivating yourself to keep going despite obstacles helps, but pushing yourself to the limit does not. You may need to be careful: chronic stress can hurt you—and perhaps your chances of success as well.

Stress is what happens when you perceive, or at least feel, that the demands life is placing on you are greater than your ability to cope. Sometimes stress can be helpful, giving you the impetus and focus to achieve. But stress can also be a trade-off: are you toughing it out because you know the short-term strain will be worth the long-term benefits, or has the short-term harm started to become a long-term liability? In short: how much stress ...

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