Thursday, April 9, 2015

Science Shows Us How to Perform Under Pressure

There is no shortage of inspiring messages about how you must learn to rise above the occasion and show your brilliance under pressure if you want to be successful.
When we think of people who epitomize such messages, those who come to mind are often sports superstars like Michael Jordan. How many times did he pull out a game-winner at the buzzer?
But whether the rest of us mere mortals can do the same when we’re under pressure is the subject of a new book, “Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When it Matters Most,” by Hendrie Weisinger and J.P. Pawliw-Fry.
“The biggest fallacy about performing under pressure is that you have to try harder,” Weisinger says. “But Tom Brady doesn’t have to rise to the occasion.”
In other words, it’s just another day at the office for the New England Patriot’s quarterback when he plays in the Super Bowl. There’s no pressure for him because he’s just doing what he normally does after decades of practice. There’s no need for him to be nervous because he knows he is capable of performing in that situation, Weisinger says.
To translate that into the everyday worker’s life, someone moving into a new job shouldn’t think, “Oh, now I’ve got the job, so now I need to perform,” Weisinger says. “You’ve already proved yourself. Just continue to do what you’re doing.”
Weisinger points out that research reveals that “no one performs better under pressure” and pressure undermines performance even in elite athletes and executives.
The key, he says, is that we can learn to perform up to the level of our ability(read the rest here)

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