Why You Should Apply Pressure on Yourself to Succeed

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When we think of the feeling of “pressure,” the immediate meaning is usually a negative one. It’s understandable – if given a choice, many would prefer not to be pressured under any circumstances. It’s not a super comfortable feeling. However, it can be useful in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to your career journey.

Historian Thomas Carlyle said, “No pressure, no diamonds,” suggesting that coal could not reach its true potential to become diamonds without it. Similarly, the right dose of stress will help you achieve your goals when you know how to use it and manage it in a healthy way that doesn’t detract from your overall well-being.

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1. Personality over comfort

It is partly a choice. You can go through life prioritizing short-term comfort and avoiding situations that involve a high level of stress. However, the experience probably won’t be very satisfying. It’s natural to prefer easy and comfortable situations – it’s only human. Unfortunately, you have to endure and embrace more challenging experiences to help develop and grow your character.

Without moments that push us, we remain stagnant, and forcing yourself to deal with discomfort will serve you well in the future. Think of a notable achievement—a well-known historical example or something personal that happened in your life. As far as you know, would that goal or milestone have been achieved without some level of discomfort and pressure?

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When I think of the moments in my life where I’ve been most proud of myself or accomplished the best, none of them could have happened without hard work. I have never regretted pushing myself into a situation and will continue to do so whenever the opportunity presents itself.

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2. Exercise the muscle

As with most things, working through pressure gets easier with practice. It’s like a muscle or a skill – you have to practice it to make it stronger. No one walks into the weight room and squats 400 pounds for the first time, and it’s not recommended. Without training, you are only hurting yourself.

There’s a reason why Lionel Messi is consistently chosen to take penalties. He’s already taken a lot of them and found a way to be comfortable and successful in what is arguably the game’s most stressful moment. He has been in this position before and has been challenged time and time again in a way that other players have yet to master.

If you can find a way to embrace the moments when you feel the pressure looming, the more it happens, the easier it will be. Constantly putting yourself in an uncomfortable position will only help you in the long run, especially since those moments will increase in frequency as you progress and grow. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: With great reward comes great responsibility, and as you achieve or achieve success, you’ll need those strengthened muscles to deal with times of high pressure.

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3. Pressure management

If you’re someone who regularly experiences high levels of stress, you’re likely constantly striving to do better in most areas of life—the two usually go hand in hand. Even when you lean into the positives, you still have to find a way to manage the pressure.

Different people have different strategies, but what I think is very important is to recognize the adrenaline that comes with the feeling of pressure. On a physical level, the fear you might feel in those moments is not that different from the feeling you get when you’re excited, like climbing the highest point of a roller coaster. The trick is to channel adrenaline the other way and use it to fuel excitement instead of fear. Think about what could go right rather than what could go wrong, or if that’s too difficult, allow yourself to think about what could go wrong and get through it anyway. to feel more prepared.

One strategy could be to use friendships with complementary strengths. I might be asked to jump out of a plane tomorrow and not think twice about it, but if you ask me to strap on an oxygen tank and go scuba diving, I won’t say “yes” as quickly. Having a friend who may be terrified of heights but feels at home in the water is the best option because we can push each other and take some of the pressure off the other person might be feeling.

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Inevitably, the best way to manage stress is to get comfortable with the physical sensations it evokes, but these strategies can be of great help before you get there.

If you’re having trouble getting a true sense of comfort, viewing pressure through a score lens can be incredibly helpful. Billie Jean King wrote an entire book on the subject in which she said: “Pressure is a privilege – it comes only to those who earn it.” The privilege and opportunity to feel the pressure to compete and perform is not something that everyone experiences. That fact alone can, at times, make it easier to handle. When progress seems hard, know that you’re going to feel that way, but it doesn’t have to stop you from using all the tools in your arsenal. If you can take control of the situations that create that good pressure instead of avoiding it, you’ll end up succeeding in a way that feels even more enjoyable.


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