one woman's quest to live the life she's imagined all while daring you to do the same

Don’t Happy, Be Worry: Distress vs. eustress

I find it kinda funny that I’m just now reading The 4-Hour Workweek. It has only been on my reading list since 2007. It’s about time! I find it humorous because instinctively I already do a lot of what Tim Ferriss suggests. And maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t know more before leaving my teaching career; I might have tried to mimic something I wasn’t.

I’ve never been one to follow the flock and have always set my own rules (to a fault sometimes). The few regrets are far outweighed by the many successes, so the system has always stuck.

My practices aren’t nearly as fine-tuned as Ferriss’, and perhaps that’s why I’m just now getting to this book. I need some tweaking.

But all-in-all I’d say, the more and more I invite uncertainty and risk into my life, the happier and more successful I become.

Selling most all your possessions and moving to Hong Kong to write a book that potentially no one will read, I agree is not for everyone. We each have our own journey.

But the first step begins with questioning your current reality, and I did a lot of that.

Here’s Ferriss on stress:

“Not all stress is bad, there are two separate types: distress refers to harmful stimuli that makes you weaker, less confident and less able (destructive criticism, abusive bosses, smashing your face on a curb), whereas eustress, on the other hand, is healthy stress (roll models that push our limits, physical training that removes our spare tires and risks that expand our sphere of comfortable action); (prefix: eu, as in “euphoria”, meaning healthy).

People who avoid all criticism fail. It is destructive criticism we need not pay attention. There is no progress without eustress and the more eustress we can bring into our lives the sooner we can actualize our dreams. The trick is telling the two apart.” -Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

He offers these questions, not just to marinate on–but to act:

How has being realistic or responsible kept you from the life you want?

How has doing what you should resulted in sub-par experiences or regret for not having done something else?

Look at what you’re currently doing and ask yourself, what would happen if I did the opposite of the people around me?

What will I sacrifice if I continue on this track for 5, 10, 20 years?

The last one was the kicker for me. Could I really see myself doing this for 20 years? To me it’s like dating someone you don’t want to marry. The more quickly you end it the better.

I leave you with this: Answer the four questions as honestly as possible and make a plan to take necessary action. Bring on the eustress, baby! Like now.


Much Love,


Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit, yo!

busyferriss *Weird. I’m always busy.


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