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Under Pressure: Stress is Always Around the Corner


It comes in waves.  What?  Well, lots of things. Good things, bad things, Inconsequential things, highly consequential things, and things that mean nothing to anyone but you, and things that mean everything to the people who surround you. Waves of productivity and waves of stagnation. Waves of joy and waves of grief. Each yearly journey around the sun draws the sea up for these waves, the ones that bless us and the ones that swamp us and in between there’s a calm where things are just moving along fine– smooth sailing. 


The Extremes and In-Betweens



It can certainly be very exciting in those periods near the extremes. Stress, good or bad, gets your heart pumping and your feet in action. Some people thrive on this type of stress. The cards are down and it’s do or die. Some people choke in these same situations. Everyone is different in how they react to stress.  You may be wondering what it means to choke in a “high” situation.  Think of a lottery winner or someone who otherwise has a big pot of money thrust upon them kinda sudden-like. Someone who can handle the stress of such a fortune will likely not alter their course and keep on keeping on.  Someone who can’t handle stress well will likely blow through the fortune and be worse off after they receive it. Yes, they might be doing fine for a while, but dealing with such a cache of cash is simply too much for this kind of person.  It is no surprise, then, that a tough situation is equally hard for this person to deal with, where the person who handles stress differently absorbs the waves that come his way and holds the course. 


What we all should recognize is that there’s no such thing as a stress-free life. There will be highs and lows along the way. One key to success is to wake up each day, prepare yourself for it, put your hand to the plow and don’t look back. Another is to expect things to swarm on you.  To those not familiar with the expression, “to swarm on you” means for a sudden and complete failure like picking up a square bail of hay with one side bound too tight– the hay will spill out onto the ground. When you expect things to go wrong and they don’t, just keep on trucking.  When they do go wrong, adapt, improvise, and overcome as needed. 


Today Is a Clean Sheet



Here lately, after a period of hyper-productivity in writing, I have suffered from a complete and total case of writer’s block. I had started an article about two weeks ago and each day since I left my computer open to that tab. I could not finish this article or even bring myself to read through it to edit what had been written. Then, it finally occurred to me that what I needed was a clean sheet of paper. These days to use that expression is metaphorical, or course, but once that clean “sheet” was in front of me today, the writer’s block broke and here I am, 200 or so words into this missive. 


Maybe it was some stress that I needed. 

Speaking of stress, as I write this I am in the process of getting ready for the Rocky Mountain Airgun Challenge, hosted by Utah Airguns. This event will be in the rearview mirror by the time you read this. I have never participated in a formal shooting competition before. I’ve been told it will be fun and all that stuff. I am sure it will be. What I need to be doing is practicing every waking moment for the events I am signed up for.  My rifle came in late. It’s here and ready now, but I’ve found hand pumping a .30 caliber Gauntlet is for the birds. The rifle shoots better than I can, so here’s to me living up to the rifle’s potential.  Now as to performance under stress, I’ll just pretend I’m back in college and have three papers to write in the next 96 hours. Now if it would only stop raining for a few days.

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