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Performing Under Pressure

The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most

By Hendrie Weisinger & J.P. Pawliw-Fry
10-minute read
Audio available
Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most by Hendrie Weisinger & J.P. Pawliw-Fry

Performing Under Pressure (2015) offers a guide to building confidence and overcoming high-pressure situations to achieve your loftiest goals. You’ll discover why it’s difficult to perform when the stakes are high and learn practical strategies to help you conquer performance stress.

  • People who struggle working under pressure
  • Scientists or students looking at performance-related stress issues
  • Athletes, students or anyone preparing for a high-stakes event

Hendrie Weisinger is a psychologist and pioneer in the field of pressure management as well as a bestselling author.

J.P. Pawliw-Fry is a performance coach who advises Olympic athletes and business executives. He is the president of the Institute for Health and Human Potential, a global research and learning company that trains organizations and leaders to best perform under pressure.

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Performing Under Pressure

The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most

By Hendrie Weisinger & J.P. Pawliw-Fry
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most by Hendrie Weisinger & J.P. Pawliw-Fry
Synopsis

Performing Under Pressure (2015) offers a guide to building confidence and overcoming high-pressure situations to achieve your loftiest goals. You’ll discover why it’s difficult to perform when the stakes are high and learn practical strategies to help you conquer performance stress.

Key idea 1 of 6

Focus on the now to conquer stress. Focus on success to conquer feelings of pressure.

 Think about taking an important exam. Are you afraid, eager? Do your palms sweat, or nerves twitch?

The sensations you felt in that moment are typical of high-pressure situations. Unfortunately, pressure and stress can hamper your performance when it’s most essential that you succeed.

Pressure moments can affect performance in everything, from your day job to your relationships.

Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile’s research into creativity in the workplace discovered that pressure negatively affects both creativity and productivity. Although some workers felt more creative when under pressure, the fact of the matter is that while they were certainly completing tasks, their performance was actually on a much lower creative level.

Pressure affects more than work. The secret to a successful relationship isn’t chemistry between partners but a pair’s ability to interact in pressure moments.

For example, couples who criticize each other, saying things like “You’re too selfish,” put a tremendous amount of pressure on a relationship. As a result, the partnership suffers as each individual inevitably feels dissatisfied with the other.

Stress, on the other hand, occurs in different scenarios.

While it’s common to experience pressure in situations where success is crucial, like during a college entrance exam, we tend to experience stress in situations with too many demands and too few resources, such as a work day with lots of back-to-back meetings.

But what’s the connection between pressure and stress?

Stress affects us just like pressure by decreasing our creativity. But stress is a different phenomenon and therefore begs a different solution than does pressure.

The trick to dealing with stressful situations is reduction. For instance, focusing on only what you’re doing right now will help you manage stress.

But in a pressure situation, you should focus on the final result, whether it means safely landing a helicopter or winning a basketball game. In short, this means in pressure moments you should focus on success and adapt your behavior to constantly advance.

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