Give Eustress, not Distress


Eustress is the giving of constructive criticism that does not distress, but further motivates to improve skills and to achieve a good level of competence.

It is a positive cognitive response that is healthy or gives one a sense of accomplishment. This challenges and motivates the person to have a goal in sight that can be achieved with further effort.

Why this is important?

Think for a moment about your relationship with people whom you have criticised recently. Are you in touch with them, or does the other person feel comfortable talking to you? 

You know the answer in your heart.

We all take pride in our accomplishments, our knowledge, because every moment we know how hard we worked to gain that knowledge and skill. And when we find someone who is in the same process that we have already gone through, what do we do? 

Should we cause them grief or eustress?

It's like laughing at a fifth grader that he's not a tenth grader yet. He can't be a sophomore because he's not supposed to be there. He's in that process. If he doesn't get there in the future, it's his fault, but your job is to guide him when he sees you as a coach. 

Well, that's an interesting point. If he doesn't see you as an expert or a friend, then you should be careful because he may be more likely to not take your advice. However, if you do it assertively, it doesn't hurt anyone. Instead of giving direct advice, you can share your experience with him so that he thinks about it and learns from it.

What would happen then?

1) It will improve your relationship with him.

2) If he finds it useful, he will turn to you for direct advice.

3) You will learn in the process because there is no limit to being an expert. Expertise is only a relative measure to non-expert. 

 I am not preaching here, but reminding myself in this process what I should be doing, and also sharing my experiences.

Again, I tell myself:

 Give eustress, not distress.

P.S. - I read this word - Eustress - in the book The 4- Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss.

Chetan Maheshwari

Hello, I am a Project Management Professional, and an author and a blogger by passion. I like good sarcasm and humor. Books, people around me, and nature inspire me, and my blogs and book reflect the same.

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