Have you ever wondered why successfully achieving your dreams feels stressful?
There’s an interesting phenomenon that in people who, from the outside, seem to be successful in their relationships, work, or health. Inside, the cost of maintaining it takes its toll on their body — they feel stressed or anxious about the next thing, always chasing more or starting the next project.
It’s a question I get a lot — why does it happen and what can I do?
I like to explain it with an analogy.
Growth — in any area of your life — is like a clock.
Quarter 1: Planting Seeds
In the first phase, you’re bursting with creative energy and you’re full of ideas. It’s very exciting to see such a world of possibility and not know what’s going to happen or which idea is going to grow. This phase isn’t grounded in the physical world since you’re not making anything yet but you have a lot of information to process and explore. You’re having a lot of fun.
Quarter 2: Working The Field
You’re watering the seeds, and putting a lot of time and energy into working the fields. This is you investing time into your relationships, your work, or projects. Everything you’re doing in this section is in anticipation of some future payoff, which is totally appropriate.
Quarter 3: Harvest
Time to collect the payoff from the hard work of the previous quarter. You are still working hard but the focus is on harvesting the crops from the months and years you’ve put into something. This can be in physical, emotional, or spiritual form.
Quarter 4: Rest & Recovery
Now, you’re wrapping up and resting. This exciting growth you’ve experienced has taken a lot out of you and you need to get ready for the next cycle by allowing yourself to completely recharge. It’s very important to allow yourself this quadrant before moving back into the 12:00 – 3:00 phase.
It’s important to pay attention to which quadrant you’re in, or at least be honest about which one you’re in, when you ask yourself. In your relationships – are you just reaping the benefits now? Or are you working really hard? Are you in the idea phase of a project? Or are you reaping the benefits? Each of the phases are really fun when you know you’re in them and you know that they don’t last forever. It’s cyclical.
So why is it stressful to succeed?
If you understand the cyclical nature of growth, you will be able to understand why we stress ourselves out. In reality, we have two clocks: one for your body and the physical world, and one for your energy and the spiritual world.
The physical clock, by nature, is much slower than the spirit clock. In the material world, we have to wait for people to coordinate, for the right people to show up etc… but in the spirit world, there is no such friction. Ideas flow effortlessly, emotions are instantaneous, and guidance can show up very quickly.
The reason we get stressed out is because our spirit is much further ahead of our body.
Imagine a rubber band tied between the hour hands of the two clocks. The spirit clock will typically be ahead by an hour or so, which is great because you want your spirit to guide and pull your physical world.
But if your spirit clock is much further ahead, then the rubber band will stretch and be under a lot of pressure, which will manifest itself in your life. This is why we feel under pressure or not “where we should be”.
Succeeding in growth can be a very painful experience if your spirit world is always far ahead of your physical clock.
Let your physical body catch up
Letting your spirit run even further away and onto the next phases will create even more stress. If there’s a big gap, you need to let your physical world catch up.
To do this, try to find a daily practice you can do with your body. Find some yoga you like, some Qi Gong, breathing exercises, cycling, or anything that can work the root chakra.
If you do these things every day, you will notice that your body clock will speed up and catch up.
In fact, if you look at the most “successful” people out there, who don’t burn out, they make sure that their bodies are active and healthy so that they can keep up with their spiritual ambitions.
Don’t ignore the physical world
If you ignore the physical world and your body, it will cause your body clock to run slower and slower, letting your spirit clock run further away and create more and more stress.
So, always ask what quadrant you’re in both physically and spiritually. What are you dreaming about? How do you feel about your current life circumstance?
If you’re in the 4th quadrant, where you need to take some rest and not start a new spiritual program, then it’s the perfect time to go the beach and simply read a book.