Performing Under Pressure

Performing Under Pressure

It is often said that moderate pressure makes people perform better. The Yerkes-Dodson Law of psychology states that a given task needs an ideal level of motivation or arousal.

Too much or too little psychological activation can hinder the implementation of the task. Any challenge would also appear stressful and a burden on us if it is imposed without our consent or intrinsic interest.

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Self Improvement


Just because we think that young people should tolerate stress, failure, misery and challenges so that they benefit from it, does not mean all of them will.

Many cultures in the east promote handling tough situations as a way to make people strong, but the fact is that future resilience is based on many factors, not just tough circumstances.

Many parents have a life-long belief that kids should be ‘hardened up’ and go to great lengths to ensure that things are not easy for their children. Contrary to popular belief, exposure to unpleasant situations does not help cope with the difficulties that young people will face in the future. Instead of adjusting the person, a better way is to address the factors that create such situations in the first place.

On the flip side of 'Grit Parents' are the Helicopter Parents who coddle their children whenever they have time and spend money to ensure their kids are not deprived of anything. This ensures that the kids are either spoiled or are not able to function properly when they are out in the real world on their own.

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High-pressure moments as a (fun) challenge

Most people see "pressure situations" as threatening, and that makes them perform even less well. 

But, "when you see the pressure as a challenge, you are stimulated to give the attention and energy needed to make your best effort." 

To practice, build "challenge thinking" into your daily life.

Learn to be ok with discomfort

If you know you have a high-stakes event coming up, become familiar with feeling pressure and learn to work through it. 

For example: If you need to give a presentation to coworkers, rather than practicing on your own, try out your speech on a couple of friends. 

Forgive. Research indicates that forgiveness makes you less angry and more healthy.

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