Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Handling" Or "Dealing" With Pressure Not Allowed!

This topic seems to continuously show it's face, whether it's with one of my students or my own day-to-day walk. It's such an important issue, as it always finds it's way into every aspect of our lives. Very often, we tend to overlook the importance pressure plays in our motivations and our attempts to reach our specific goals. I want to address a certain part of this word, and how it's presented to most of us... actually, all of us!

When we meet pressure head-on, we've been taught to "handle" or "deal" with it as well as we can. As I was trying to reach new levels in my athletic career, I was constantly taught that the athlete who "deals with pressure best will always come out ahead." "Whoever handles the pressure, and can play through it, will separate himself from the competition." Watching the Olympics this year, I've heard this advice from the announcers every other sentence... it's driving me crazy.

I now understand they were all wrong, and have mislead our thinking and approach to this powerful word! Let me explain:

We don't "handle" a healthier body, do we? We don't "deal" with eating correctly, and exercising regularly. We love our new body... we embrace and invite the proper foods into our diet, and the endorphin rush that results from exercise.

We don't "handle" a birdie in golf... we hope for, love, and need it."

We don't "deal" with an A on our exams... we yearn for it, study our butts off, expect that grade.

We should be embracing pressure... making it a part of our core belief system, realizing this is the only way we'll truly excel. It shouldn't be a separate entity, but rather a major piece of who we are internally.

So, why are we supposed to handle and deal with pressure? We associate pressure with negativity, and have made adversity and pressure synonymous. We've linked this negativity into our unconscious, creating a monster that very often feels unbeatable. Simply put, pressure is a bad word in our language.

It doesn't have to be... this is my goal.

Instead of thinking of pressure as something to deal with, we should be putting our arms around it, inviting it into our every move. It's because of pressure that we've succeeded. Let me repeat: Pressure is the reason we reach new levels. It isn't something to fear or run away from... and definitely not something we need to handle!

How do we reshape our mindsets, making pressure work for us? 

Redefine the word...

Rather than equating fear with pressure, make it an OPPORTUNITY. It's an opportunity to... (you fill in the blank, depending on your motivations and goals). Finishing that sentence with anything you want is the best, and most powerful part of your new definition. Opportunity doesn't allow fear or hesitation to enter it's world. It's impossible to say, "pressure is an opportunity to..." and still be afraid to fail, or over think the 'what-ifs.' Opportunity is power, which will ultimately lead to the result we desire.

Again, as written in my last post, it is this simple... but sometimes clarity is too clear to see. 

In order for our mindset to shift, and be able to redefine pressure as our best friend, we must practice this every day. Every time we feel pressure, repeat our new definition. Our minds are a muscle... the harder we work them, the faster we'll achieve!

Pressure is an opportunity to...


Deborah said...

Pressure is the opportunity to achieve.... I don't like to be pressured, it usually makes me in a bad mood and I'm pressured a lot at work and at home. If I do something that I know that I'm pressured to get done, as soon as it is done, I can feel my body relax. I have learned not to be so pressured about a lot of things. If it isn't life threating, I try not to get pressured and to be less pressured is by saying "no" more often!
Another good post. You ALWAYS make me think !!!
Have a nice weekend.

Dayne Gingrich said...

Hi Deborah,

This is the reason I posted this. Pressure SHOULD be something we want. You don't want it because you associate it with negativity... "bad mood, body tension, etc."

I understand this is counterintuitive thinking... but WANTING and INVITING pressure will make you relax, and actually perform much better when faced with this new "friend."

It is a friend... most just don't know it yet.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comment.


Alice in Wonderland said...

I find I work better under pressure. I know in my case it is usually meeting dead-lines, but that is the exciting part. Making sure that everything is in the right place at the time.
This was a great post, and made me think what would I do if I weren't under pressure!
I set myself achievable goals, and I go out of my way to achieve them.

Dayne Gingrich said...

"I work better under pressure, usually trying to meet deadlines..."

EXACTLY! Many actually thrive when pressure is at it's strongest. You're excelling... not "dealing."

Why do we procrastinate? Most who wait until the last minute, do so because they love the PRESSURE of having to finish at that last minute.

So then... why can't we love the pressure all the time, under all circumstances? We can! We're just not taught to think like this. We're brought up to run from pressure... avoid it at all costs, as it will most likely "cause more problems in our lives..."

Great comment.


Blogger said...

I agree with you completely , because I have experinced this lot of times ..I used to fret and fume about teh pressures , but then I have relaized that its the pressure that made me excel and sometimes ,it help me to give the best of me ! So I am happy to be pressured to replace to opportunity ;)

Mr.Poo said...

Last week I stood in a long queue on the highway on the way to work. I felt a big pressure and regretted that I did not go to the toilet before I left. I wished that I had a diaper on. Almost 2 hours it took me to get to work, and I did just make it to the toilet when I arrived. I did fear this pressure and yes, I had a lot of opportunities in my mind, but was afraid of being arrested by the police.

Bendigo said...

I guess I have a mixed feeling on this. I enjoy being put on the spot. I like when things have to be done NOW or in many cases yesterday...The thing is when these things come about I don't feel pressure.

I only find pressure (this is just my experience) when things are not done that I should have accomplished...When I have failed to achieve the goal I set out and am scrambling to make up for my own missteps...

Maybe I'm just playing on words in my own mind, but pressure for me is indeed negative, maybe because it's a reminder of my shortcomings on whatever task was presented to me...

Rettakat said...

Dang... I wish I had read this sooner.
I've had a tough couple of days. And I totally did not think of it in terms of "pressure is an opportunity", even though I distinctly remember posting something to that effect awhile ago!

Sheesh... obviously it is still "intellectual" knowledge, not "heart" knowledge for me yet.

Thank you for this.

I will now go and re-arrange my blog, so that I get notified when you write a new post!!

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