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Pursuing Failure - When Stress is Good

Alex Chaveriat
Alex Chaveriat
I thought stress was a bad thing?
I have been told stress is bad - it causes heart attacks and makes you lose your hair. Is this the reason I am bald? I did start losing my hair during one of the most stressful times of my life. Yet, I can’t help think it was worth it, not the stress or the events but what came after.
In hacking, there is a thing called fuzzing. Essentially, you push TONS of random data into a system and see where it breaks. That testing helps show where the weaknesses are. This type of testing is not unique to hacking. In plumbing and engineering, there is hydrostatic stress testing. The engineer fills the pipe with water and pressurizes it to find leaks.
Testing with intense pressure and fuzzing exposes leaks, vulnerabilities, and ultimately weaknesses.
This past year kind of feels like a big stress test. It helped reveal weaknesses throughout our system. Many companies’ hardware broke, VPNs got overloaded, ISP slowed down, incompetent managers surfaced, and non-essential jobs removed.
In our individual lives as well. Couples I have known for years had their buried problems unearthed. Weak and opportunistic friendships died.
What didn’t break?
When fuzzing, we focus on what broke and, during a security test, that is all that matters. We don’t care what worked and didn’t break. We only write the flaws in the report, not the successes.
In life, we do the same. We focus on where we screwed up during stress and not all the places we didn’t break. To drag the analogy a bit too far - we focus on the leak and not the 10 miles of plumbing we did right. I get it, we need to fix the leak, but take a moment and see the success you had in the areas of your life that didn’t fail.
Stress testing doesn’t just expose the weaknesses in your life. It also shows where you freaking rocked it!
  • What relationships became better this past year?
  • What important decisions were you forced to make?
  • Did you rearrange your priorities?
What successes did you have under pressure this year that you absolutely rocked? Stress can help find your strengths.
I hope your successes were numerous and you celebrate every one and hack on!
🧐 Quote of the Week
“It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye
🤘 My Favorite Things This Week
Clean office - Oh, it was so bad. I even cleaned it up a bit before I did the video this past week. Yikes… embarrassing, though it is clean now.
Got to the cabin - I got away from my computer for a couple days this past weekend. It was a weird feeling to be disconnected but it was awesome. It started snowing while we were up there.
🚽 Things That Are Gross
Missing live streaming - Punted live-streaming this week. I missed it and miss hanging out with you awesome people! It was a hard choice but I able to get away up to our family’s cabin in the wood. No electricity or running water, but there is an outhouse.
🎥 YouTube Videos This Week
My New Desk Setup
My New Desk Setup
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Alex Chaveriat
Alex Chaveriat @alexchaveriat

Hey-o, I'm Alex, or Silk among the hacking community. I'm a hacker, information security geek, father, coffee snob, YouTuber, Chief Innovation Officer, DEF CON goon, and I pursue failure. Failing often and failing better each time. Every week I write about that pursuit, stories, and what I am learning on the journey. Hope you enjoy and hack on.

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