BE POSITIVE BEFORE AND DURING HIGH-PRESSURE MOMENTS
Each of us has an inherent internal GPS that is programmed to give us a positive attitude. When you have a positive attitude, you are more apt to attend to the necessary task with confidence and the knowledge that you can succeed.
In prehistoric times, those of our ancestors with a positive attitude had an evolutionary advantage; the attitude motivated them to approach their tasks with a minimum of fear and anxiety, two factors that lead to poor performance under pressure. Because positive individuals were more successful, and better able to pass on their genes through the process of natural section, positive thinking became a natural attribute in our species, to help us succeed.
However, for many of us, life circumstances and a pattern of ineffective responses have instilled a tendency to think negatively. People who do so are at a disadvantage in high-pressure moments; pressure short-circuits their positive thinking system by adding anxiety and fear of failure, which distracts them and takes them off course.
This pressure solution helps you depressurize the moment by re-booting your inherent tendency for positive thinking.
Belief in a successful outcome can prevent you from worry that can drain and distract your working memory. Anxiety and fear are stripped from the equation, allowing you to act with confidence.
Use a variety of encouraging and confidence-building statements, such as “I am going to be great,” “I’m going to be successful.” Make a list of such statements. Keep them visible or available for those moments when you encounter a high-pressure situation.
If you have a high-pressure event coming up, and you feel ill prepared, or haven’t had the time to ready yourself, act as if you are positive. Studies show that individuals’ feelings and moods respond to their actions. Acting depressed leads people to feel depressed; acting euphoric creates feelings that match. That is why a marine drill sergeant orders nervous “newbies” to “stand up straight,” so that they will feel confident, like the Marines they are training to be.
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.