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This pressure solution is spurred by the well-documented fact that the more important we appraise an event to be, the more pressure we feel — that is the nature of pressure. Pressure distorts our perceptions, often to an irrational take on the moment, and this distorted thinking downgrades our cognitive success tools, such as judgment and decision-making, and motivates impulsive behavior. Super distortions get you back to primal pressure.
It may feel awkward, but you can depressurize the moment by minimizing its significance. A day before the Super Bowl, “I treat it like any other game” is how Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Falco put it before his championship performance.
Tell and teach your kids that their grades aren’t the most important thing in life, and they will feel less pressure at school, enjoy learning, and be less likely to cheat.
To counter and prevent primal pressure thinking, you need to under exaggerate or generate thoughts that minimize the significance of the pressure moment. These minimization thoughts will help you counter the pressure distortion magnification and thus helps you regain a more realistic perspective of the pressure moment. For most, the battle between exaggerated importance and shrinking to fit is continual and one that minimization must win if they are to develop nerves of steel.
A powerful antidote is to be mindful of what is most important in your life. Making a list will help you. Right before a pressure moment, reflect on your “most important” list — it will help you keep your current moment in proper pressure perspective.
Of course we recognize that the pressure moment is defined as important; but it is also important not to exaggerate its significance.
This is an excerpt from Performing Under Pressure, published with permission from the author.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JP Pawliw-Fry is co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Performing Under Pressure. He is keynote speaker, and the founder of IHHP, a global research and learning company that specializes in helping organizations and leaders leverage the science of emotional intelligence and performing under pressure. The research and strategies presented in the book, keynotes and in HHP’s training programs have been leveraged by numerous Fortune 100 companies, including long-term relationships with Johnson and Johnson, PWC, Goldman Sachs, HSBC as well as Olympic medal winning athletes.
Co-authored by our own J.P. Pawliw-Fry, Performing Under Pressure will introduce you to the concept of pressure management, offering the latest science on how your brain responds under pressure, and many empirically tested strategies to help you overcome the sabotaging effects of pressure. For this book, we undertook a multiyear study of over twelve thousand people to answer the question: what is it about the top 10 percent of these individuals that helps them handle pressure more effectively and be successful? The book has been featured in featured in Forbes, INC., The Financial Times, Training Magazine and many more, and is a NYT and Amazon bestseller. Order your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible or Apple ibooks.