Pressure is inescapable now. We’re still have only so many hours in which we can act, but the demands on our time are endless. One simple distinction that can help us put things in a more helpful light is this: Learning to perform under pressure isn’t the same thing as reducing the pressure we feel during the daily performance.
Time collapsed. Due to the the leveling of borders brought about by always-on connections and electronic tethers, we jam more and more into a finite box measuring 24 hours. We need to sleep, eat, and take care of ourselves and the ones who matter to us as well — sooner or later something’s got to give, and until then it’s our nerves which bear the strain of it all. That’s why the chief pressure point is how to deal with pressure: what can you do to lessen it, to de-pressurize without further harm to yourself or others?
Getting better at doing the job isn’t always the perfect solution, either. Usually, the reward for doing good work is more work.
No, the pressure that we want to alleviate is the one that comes from the heavy weight we look to bear every day, without any seeming relief. It’s like a mad Greek divine tragedy: Atlas was made to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, while Sisyphus was sentenced to roll a boulder up a hill and then watch it go back down, only for him to repeat the cycle again. Every day.
Practicing mindfulness and mastery can help us to perform better under pressure, but we need to learn to concentrate reducing the daily emotional and mental pressure as well. Both skills are needed to make the best use of your powers and time without burning out, breaking down or flying apart. Continue reading How to Ease Your Everyday Pressure