Eustress, Sensus Plenior.

Applying Eustress is so rewarding that it doesn’t reach the surface right away. You can apply this for years and if others can’t see your progress, they may mistake your progress for a lack of results. Fret not, it reveals how those individuals respond to a lack of information. The less eustress we apply on ourselves, the more we’ll tend to fall into the habits and contagions of our environment and our past.

This is part three of Sensus Plenior, part of An Aspirant’s Toolbox. Start here.

Sometimes, the only reason eustress is distress is because we don’t understand it. If you employ a coach and they assist you in your endeavors, they can help you through the hurdles. At times, progress might be interpreted as distress because you didn’t lead yourself there. This in particular is insidious when coupled with experiences such as trauma, abuse and pride. Regardless of the cause, gratitude is a great way to reframe the illusion of distress when recognizing progress – to make this stress eustress.

If we believe it’s bad, it’s bad to a part of us. An unfortunate reality is that it takes work to create environments that aren’t conducive with the environments around us at any level. Once the work’s done it can be fostered. It’s an idea that’s wholly part of Steve Kotler’s work in flow states, but I haven’t seen him use the word. The reality is that it doesn’t matter – the idea still exists all the same.

Bend but don’t break comes to mind, so here’s an example of what it means. In Eustress it refers to being slightly pushed but not overwhelmed.

My writing on this website, which wouldn’t exist without eustress, is an example of this. Here’s a process I followed when I started writing to this blog.

  • Write 200-800 words a day.
  • Stick to the information on the pilot post until it’s completed.
  • Encourage and challenge people to think more.


In artful thinking, I chose to make some modifications. The expectation is more than I committed to anybody on this entire blog, as you may have noticed. Here’re a couple of things you might see people rely upon as consistent.

  • Write 100-800 words a day (after 300 posts even).
  • Encourage critical thinking.
  • Explore something different.
  • Share something every day.
  • Share something around 3 am, PST.

It may seem safe and this is true in one sense. In another sense it’s the most dangerous place I could choose to stay. I’m not growing from continuing this practice alone. Stopping this practice shrinks my skill set from a consistent writer to just being a writer in this arena. If this sounds like you too, in any arena, I have a question for you: would you rather produce like Seth Godin, or stick to the new normalcy that you’ve created for yourself?

Potential Avenues

Check out the inspiration for this post sensus plenior.

A sensus plenior approach to flow states reveals its’ usefulness for action.

Seth Godin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

An Aspirant’s Toolbox

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