The Stress Test

How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper
by Ian Robertson | 256 pages

Ian Robertson is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist. He’s widely considered one of the world’s leading researchers in neuropsychology. This book is, essentially, a fascinating tour through his decades-long pursuit to scientifically test Nietzsche’s maxim “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” Big Ideas we explore include the double-edge sword of stress (remember the Yerkes-Dodson Law and how to Optimize it!), the power of saying "I feel excited!" (rather than "I feel anxious."), the fact that a wandering mind is an UNHAPPY mind (crazy studio show it), Hall of Fame researching stats (note: failing nearly 70% of the time), and the power of BELIEVING we can use stress to get stronger (it ALL starts with belief).


“The big idea that now started brewing through my mind was trying to understand the interactions of the mind and the brain in order to help explain why some people are crushed by the problems life throws at them while others seem toughened by them. As I moved to Dublin, and into the twenty-first century, I was convinced that only by combining what we know about hardware and the software of the brain, as well as how they interact, could we really explore the limits of Nietzsche’s maxim. How, when and why do some people rise to the challenge of bad experiences, while others fold under their weight?

This book draws on my own and other people’s research but also on my first-hand observations of cases when I worked as a clinical psychologist. I have gone back to my old cases with new eyes and tried to understand them in the light of hundreds of research studies that have only emerged in the last decade and which have revolutionized our understanding of the mind, the brain, and our emotions. My reminiscences are tinged with irrational regret, because I now believe that, had I known then what I now know, I could have offered so much more to these people.

My consolation, however, is that I can offer the discoveries I have made, and the practical advice that people reading this book can take from them, to a much wider audience. I have no doubt that everyone can learn to better control their own mind and emotions and, if they do so, they can within limits turn stress to their own advantage. The main purpose of this book is to explain how and why this is possible through a better understanding of how the software and hardware interact with each other.”

~ Ian Robertson from The Stress Test

Ian Robertson is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist.

He’s widely considered one of the world’s leading researchers in neuropsychology.

This book is, essentially, a fascinating tour through his decades-long pursuit to scientifically test Nietzsche’s maxim “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” (Get a copy here.)

It’s interesting because we just featured another book by another leading researcher that was also focused on that same maxim. In fact, it was named after it: What Doesn’t Kill Us. That one is all about “The New Psychology of Posttraumatic Growth.”

As you’d expect, they have many parallels. I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas we can apply to our lives TODAY, so let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Ian Robertson

Scientist, Psychologist and Writer