This pressure solution is one that is especially effective when you need to perform a well-practiced behavior or task: Listen to, or sing, a favorite song.
In several studies, researchers induced pressure on athletes performing a variety of tasks, such as foul shooting, bowling, and marksmanship. Those athletes who used headphones before and during their athletic event to listen to a song they liked performed better. Furthermore, those instructed to focus on the song’s lyrics performed the best of all and closest to their proven capability. There is a reason that track stars, skaters, swimmers, and skiers listen to music on their smartphones or iPods before their events.
What makes this pressure solution so effective is that it reduces the culprit behind choking — increased anxiety. Increased anxiety causes us to worry about our performance; listening to music distracts us from the anxiety.
Executing this pressure solution is easy. Pick out a song or two that you like that will distract you from the task at hand. The goal is to put yourself in the zone. Listen to your music choice right up to the moment of your interview, presentation, or sales call. You’ll reduce your anxiety and start confidently on track. Obviously this doesn’t work in every situation. If your son can’t listen to music in class, have him mentally “play” the song in his head.
But in pressure situations, the sound of music, contrary to conventional wisdom, is often better than the sound of silence.
This is an excerpt from Performing Under Pressure.
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-author: Hendrie Weisinger.)
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.