If a muscly blue genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for? Let me guess, a million dollars? (a curious choice considering you could have wished for a billion). Live forever? (again, interesting, considering you barely know what to do when the power goes out) Fine JOHN. Gawd you’re annoying. How about ZERO stress? Now we’re talking! (although, why not wish for unlimited wishes?) The fact is, we all kinda suck at making wishes because humans don’t actually know what they want.
Money and immortality aside, when pressed, most humans wish for a combination of less stress/pain. Why? Stress and pain disrupt, corrupt and interrupt our lives and yes I just realized those are the lyrics to a fantastic Jack White song. Also, that is not true. In fact, research shows it’s quite the opposite. Stress is essential to a life of meaning. Did your brain just explode? Stay with me.
Research aside, while we think eliminating stress is the key to our happiness and more meaning ask yourself, self, is that really true? Now ask again. Actually, it doesn’t matter what you think. The fact is, a meaningful life is a life full of stress, how could there not be when meaning is on the line? Think of the most meaningful events in history. Do you think Martin Luther King’s, ‘I have a dream speech,’ was a failure because he felt stress while giving it? What about the birth of your first child? Did the stress make becoming a parent a buzz kill? What about starting your first business? Graduating from University? Running your first marathon? Overcoming a life long fear? Were these events a waste of time because stress was involved? Of course not. They changed your life! Made your life. Made you who you are. If the genie had eliminated all your stress he would have eliminated the best parts of your life.
Next time you feel stress, instead of resisting it or worse, trying to eliminate it, stay with it. Breathe in it. You could be on the verge of another defining moment.