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Stress and Tolerance

Published 3/27/2020

How do you react to stressful situations?

In today's episode we're talking about expectations versus the realities of how we respond to new stress in our daily lives and a concept that could help redirect actions to help you better manage how you respond to and handle stress.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
For many, the past few weeks are some of the most stressful times of their lives, and perhaps will be the most stressful time of their life looking back in the future. Aside from the reality that the situation that we face as a world is very serious, it's also an opportunity to learn more about yourself than perhaps at any other period of your life. In today's episode, we're going to talk about observing a particular response in stressful times. My name is Jonathan Cutrell, you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. It's true that stress causes growth, but stress also provides a unique opportunity for you to see what your real limits are. Without actual stress, you have to simulate stress. You have to imagine what you would do in a given scenario, and that's very hard to do. We're very bad at predicting what our own behaviors will be, not only in the future, but in a given context. In fact, other people are better at predicting what we will do in a given context, and we are much better at observing what we have done in the past than we are at predicting the things that we will do in the future. But when we're stressed, we can observe our responses, the differences in our responses, and perhaps gain feedback from those around us about how we are reacting to that stress. And most critically, we can learn. We can learn about the limits that we have placed, whether on purpose or accidentally, or perhaps those limits are being imposed on us, but we can find those limits much more efficiently when we are in a real stressful environment. So, I want to talk to you about a concept that you can pay attention to while we are kind of collectively going through this more stressful period of our lives. And we want you to pay attention to two things. Number one, where did you expect the stress to hit you the hardest? Where did you expect? When you heard, for example, let's say that you are having to work from home like I am, and your children are also having to stay home, like mine are, what part about this arrangement did you expect to stress you out? And particularly, pay attention to points where you were wrong. Points where you thought you would be more stressed out, but actually you're less stressed out. And then on the flip side, where do you feel new points of tightness? When I say tightness, I mean areas that have increased in stress, or you feel like you're on the verge of those things becoming much more stressful. I want you to think about both of these kind of areas of your life, and we're going to take a quick sponsor break. And then we're going to come back and talk about a concept that might help direct some meaningful change in your life. But first, I want to talk about today's sponsor, Linode. Whether you're working on a personal project, or managing your enterprise's infrastructure, Linode has the pricing, support, and the scale that you need to take your project to the next level. With 11 data centers worldwide, including the newest data center in Sydney, Australia, Enterprise Grade Hardware, S3 Compatible Storage Option, and the next generation network, Linode delivers the performance you expect at a price that you don't. And you can start as low as $5 a month on Linode's Nanod Plan. You're going to get root access to a Linux server, along with access to their API, this added version four, or their Python CLI. If you want to script your servers, you can do that with Linode as little as $5 a month. But then if you want to go to the other side of the spectrum, you can go all the way up to a dedicated CPU plan. That's a physical core that's reserved just for you, or even a GPU compute plan. These are suitable for things like AI and machine learning and video processing. Go and check it out. Head over to Linode.com slash Developer Tea, and you get a $20 credit if you are a new customer and a listener of the show. Linode.com slash Developer Tea, use the code Developer Tea 2020, that's Developer Tea 2020, that checkout. Next again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So when you're stressed, or when you are in a period of stress, it's likely that you can learn about how you can better prepare for future periods of stress. Specifically, I want you to pay attention to areas where you thought that you might have been more stressed out, but actually you're not. And then paying attention to areas where you do feel like you're on the verge of being very stressed out, perhaps even going to the extreme level. And I want to talk about something called tolerance. In mechanical engineering, tolerance simply accounts for the reality that error is very likely to happen. But there is some limit to the precision that is possible with a machined part. And some things are more precise and others are less precise, but virtually everything that you can imagine in the physical engineering world has some level of tolerance. On a screw, for example, the threads might be slightly smaller for the screw itself, or slightly larger for the interior threads. This kind of slight adjustment allows for errors to be made without compromising the functionality of the part. And there's a paradox though. When we talk about tolerance, if we increase tolerance too much, then the part becomes useless. And of course, the same is true if the part doesn't have enough tolerance and a single error is made. We can't allow for an endless number of errors. And we also can't eliminate all errors. Tolerance is important to dial in properly. And what's interesting about our stress responses is that we can think about our stress in terms of tolerance as well. In other words, you might use for this concept is slack or headroom, but the underlying concept remains the same. The ability to handle error-like situations. Not just error-like, but in this case stressful situations, trigger moments, failures, layoffs, for example. These are all types of events that if you have tolerance for handling them, you might be better off than if you didn't have the tolerance for handling them. But what's interesting is that most everyone who's listening to this, you probably also had the opposite. Something that you have a lot of tolerance for. You didn't realize that you had as much tolerance for it. You didn't realize how much headroom you had in a particular area. It's worth considering whether that headroom might be useful to you in some way. Perhaps there are decisions that you can make that might optimize your working habits, for example. In any case, when you think about stress, you should think about tolerance as a concept that goes right along with stress. Stress is a response that is based on your condition and context. What everyone is going to respond the same way to everything. And that is because we have differing tolerances. It's worth investigating what your tolerances are and whether it makes sense to take action to improve in areas where you have low tolerance. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. Thank you again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode head over to Linode.com slash Developer Teato get started today. If you enjoyed today's episode, if you found anything that we said on this episode valuable, I encourage you to subscribe in whatever podcasting app you use. If you found nothing valuable in this episode, then I expect you not to subscribe. But I hope that the episodes that we're putting out on a weekly basis are valuable to you. And if they are, then please subscribe. And one other thing that you can do to help this show is to tell another developer about the show. So you tweet about it or share it directly with someone. However you decide to share this podcast is a much more powerful mechanism for spreading this show than we can do on our own. So we rely on your help to continue doing Developer Tea. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. This episode is produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.