I, too, have been thinking about the mistaken notion that making our lives as stress-free as possible is somehow optimal. Stress-free can also be meaning-free, fulfillment-free, purpose-free, love-free. Eliminating stress takes away a sense of challenge, and the opportunity to meet the challenge. Even to triumph! Recent example: I'm a finalist for a job I didn't apply for. I'm a freelancer and happy with my flexible lifestyle, but the job is with a client's firm, so when my client submitted me as a candidate for a full-time opening, it seemed like a good idea to go with the flow. Had some phone interviews that went well but was then presented with a test assignment that was nothing I had any experience doing and would be very time consuming. I panicked and didn't want to deal with it and asked a friend/mentor for advice. She said, "bow out gracefully." Instead of taking that as permission to get rid of the stress, I surprised myself by feeling I wanted to rise to the challenge. I threw myself into it and actually felt excited. I was learning new things, developing new skills, having FUN! I haven't had any feedback on what I submitted but tomorrow I'm having the final interview. I don't know if I'll be offered the job, and if I am offered it, I don't know if I'll accept it. But whatever the outcome, it won't feel like I wasted my time in doing the test assignment. What I was asked to do could very well be part of a job description in the future for either freelance or full-time work. More importantly, by accepting rather than avoiding a stressor, I feel stronger, more confident and accomplished than before.