The Paradox of Stress

I think about stress as I run up Mt. Tabor. I push my body. It sometimes hurts. Often, I start to feel winded. It is not a comfortable place.

But I do it over and over again.

I know that I need to push myself into that place of discomfort. I am of the age where one is continually reminded of decay. I am no longer a young man.

So I run.

Not just to fight against decay, but to grow. For in that stress, I am challenging my body to keep getting stronger. For in growth, there is vitality. There is life.

I think about stress as I ponder the surprise spoken about in the Free Energy Principle. That surprise that is sensed by an inner state as it interacts with an exterior one. A surprise that challenges the inner state to adapt. To grow. To live.

To reduce the stress of surprise by minimizing free energy.

But we often talk about the importance of becoming Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. Intentionally walking into a state of unknowing, where we are opening ourselves up to surprise. A surprise that helps us expand our Meaning Matrix.

We need that which we strive to minimize.

A paradox.

Mary Beth and I had dinner recently with Mary Beth's brother and his husband, Michael. Her brother teaches at Yale Medical School and his pathology curriculum has been transforming learning there.

When I shared what we learned in the Dayton Experiment , many insights mirrored his experience of challenging medical students to be curious, allowing their understanding to organically evolve into models of increasingly complex understanding.

Where they had to continually walk into the stress of unknowing from which they could grow.

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