Everyone feels pressure at certain times, but some people feel it more than others. And some people handle it differently. There are those that fold under even the slightest pressure, while others thrive under a moderate amount of pressure, but succumb to the power of pressure as the magnitude increases. 

There is also a small group of people that seem to be addicted to pressure. They often work on Wall Street, in emergency rooms, or as risk-taking entrepreneurs. Given the wide range of responses, pressure and stress are interesting topics. 

One prominent psychologist has proven his skill to predict which couples will divorce – with an accuracy rate of 94%! The best criterion he has found to predict which marriages will last and which will not is the ability to deal with pressure. How couples deal with high-pressure conversations in their relationship is the best predictor of marriage success or failure. 

The ability to manage pressure can influence every part of your life: 

  • Physical health
  • Mental / emotional health
  • Relationships
  • The ability to parent
  • Career
  • Finances 

Your skill in handling stress and pressure can affect these different aspects of your life. Since pressure is a common part of life, learning to handle it appropriately makes a lot of sense. 

One of the great myths perpetuated regarding high-performers and pressure is that they “rise to the occasion.” The idea that some people perform at average levels under normal amounts of pressure and perform better under high pressure has been proven to be false. However, they can perform at a comparable level under high pressure while others suffer from poorer performances. 

Numerous studies of baseball players, golfers, and basketball players show that no one has consistently performed better under clutch conditions than they do under normal conditions. 

Michael Jordan hit 49.7% of his shots over his career. His percentage when taking game-winning shots? 48.0%. 

No player has ever been considered more reliable under pressure, and he was just slightly worse under pressure than he was under normal game conditions. Far more impressive than most, but still not proof that anyone performs better under high pressure. 

So pressure affects everyone. It influences some more than others. 

Regardless of your present ability to deal with pressure, you can do better. There are numerous tools and strategies available for those that want to deal successfully with pressure. The responsibility to use them is yours. 


“There’s a lot of stress out there, and to handle it, you just need to believe in yourself; always go back to the person that you know you are, and don't let anybody tell you any different, because everyone’s special and everyone’s awesome.” 
- McKayla Maroney


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