Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pressure... Don't Believe The Hype!

What is pressure?

Pressure: Verb
To force (someone) towards a particular end; influence.

Pressure: Noun
The exertion of force upon on surface by an object, fluid, etc.

Where, in any definition, does it say that pressure is a negative or something to be afraid of? We've been taught to believe that we must fear pressure; avoid it as much as possible. And if we DO face it head-on, we must do our best to "handle" or "deal" with it.

Last night on Twitter, I was asked what comes first... pressure or anxiety? For 99% of us, pressure is always first, as anxiety is the result of one's definition of pressure. My goal as a teacher is to completely eliminate all anxiety and fear linked to pressure, simply by redefining the word. Pressure, and the emotion associated, are completely separate from each other.

Pressure's simply a moment of potential consequence... a moment we've been taught to connect negativity to. Unfortunately, we've had years of unconscious linking, selling the "truth" that pressure is a naughty word. Why is it bad? Why do we look at these moments as times of potential failure?

Pressure is not an emotion. It doesn't create a reflexive, physical reaction in our bodies. What causes this physical and emotional backlash is our mental reply to the pressure. Fear, anxiety, doubt, and hesitation aren't synonymous with pressure, yet most connect them all, combing them in one lump sum.

Pressure is a point in time, giving us two options:

1) Embrace the potential positive outcome, understanding these times will ultimately define us.

2) Focus on the negativity that may or may not result.

It's literally this simple.

I can name countless number of people who have fallen victim to the pressures of their specific situation. Why? Because they've allowed the imagined negativity of the moment to overtake their thinking. If, instead, they focused on the power and success that could result, maybe their outcomes would've been different. Concentrating on the "negative what-ifs" during stressful situations is instinctive and habitual. Our brain does this as a defense mechanism. It doesn't want us to feel the pain of failure, so it focuses it's attention on fighting it, ultimately making it manifest. By definition, a habit is something we cement into our unconscious by repeating over and over, so conversely, creating new habits must be accomplished in the same fashion.

Redefine pressure, and consciously engross yourself in the process of creating this new habit. Make these occasions of pressure work for you. They don't have to make you feel anxious, scared, or doubt yourself. The 1% know how powerful these moments of consequence are, and only focus on the success of the situation.

Pressure... what does it mean to you?

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