Three Ways to Deal With Pressure

Uncertainty causes stress. Stress causes heart attacks. Eliminating uncertainty saves lives.

It doesn’t matter if it’s athletics, work, business, legal, or even your love life. Your greatest moments were preceded by pressure. It’s funny how quickly people forget that pressure is usually a symptom of opportunity. Concentrate on the outcome you are working towards instead of getting caught up worrying.

Embrace Pressure

Think about your greatest achievements.  Did you feel pressure before you reached your goal? I thought so. Remember: Great things happen when you are under pressure. When you are working with a team, sometimes it’s best to remind the team that pressure is a symptom of something great happening.

Separate the Uncertain from the Unknowable

Human beings are amazing at working with less than complete data. Unfortunately, incomplete data also causes stress, which in turn causes insomnia, heart disease and psychiatric disorders. When you are faced with incomplete data, the best move is often to make the data more complete.

Often times you can lower pressure level by

  • Educating yourself or finding someone who  has experienced your challenge and is willing to answer questions.
  • Getting organized. Sometimes the uncertainty is your schedule or ability to find time to get something done.
  • Communicating. It’s amazing how often we create stress by making assumptions about what others expect or are going to get done. Take time to talk to people and eliminate uncertainty about expectations and commitments.

If you can’t remove the uncertainty, you are facing the unknowable, and sometimes it’s best to find a new course of action that avoids the unknowable.

When You Don’t Know What To Do, Do What You Know

If you don’t know what to do, take a moment and do what you know how to do – even if you don’t know what comes after that.  Sometimes the next steps become more clear after the first step or two are handled mainly on account of the first rule of whale eating:

First Rule of Whale Eating

Q: How do you eat a whale? A: One bite at a time.

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