Stay Solid Under Pressure

Imagine you work for a small company you love.  It has integrity and hosts positive colleagues.  But then someone in the company gets let go.  All the revenue from clients has dried up due to COVID.  The company is on verge of collapse.  All hope is on you to sell the latest product.  And you need to sell a lot every month.

What do you do?

Alternatively, imagine you have dreams of being a chemist, inspired by your late grandmother who taught chemistry at a local college.  You spent the past four years studying for your science degree.  An exam looms that you didn’t study for.  If you fail this test, your class mark will be an F.  If you fail the class, your GPA will prevent you from acquiring your degree.  And if you don’t get your degree, you will be kicked out of your parents’ home, expected to find the first available job.  Your best friend offered her couch but has since changed her mind.  It’s deep winter, and the local homeless shelter, so you hear, is overrun with criminality.

What do you do?  Pressure can make any situation worse, so here are some strategies to stop ourselves from caving under pressure.

  1. Don’t worry about deadlines. Keep the deadlines in mind but don’t fret over them.
  2. Remove distractions and unessential tasks.
  3. Avoid procrastination. And avoid cramming
  4. Create and stick to a daily work routine instead.
  5. Exercise, eat healthily, and get good sleep.
  6. Tackle one small item (up to three) at a time. But do so steadily.  And focus on the most pressing task first.
  7. Don’t get down on yourself or others. Always dwell on the best in others and in yourself.  But should you examine your own faults, do so joyfully, knowing that your self-evaluation will help you grow.
  8. See pressure as fun rather than fretful. See overcoming pressure as a game of Jeopardy you are determined to win.
  9. Take a fifteen-minute break every hour. If you absolutely can’t take a break, then work on a more enjoyable work task for those fifteen minutes.
  10. Look forward to unexpected surprises, however unpleasant. Treat them as character builders.
  11. Stay happy no matter what. Happiness is a choice.  Make the right choice.
  12. Find a higher purpose in what you’re doing. You are where you are for a reason.  The people in your life are there for a reason.  Make those reasons grandiose.
  13. Keep all thoughts positive.
  14. Reward yourself.
  15. Engage in friendly competition with colleagues or fellow students.
  16. Expect every relationship, whether with family, colleagues, or fellow students, to possess serious flaws, which may reveal themselves over time. Avoid dwelling on others flaws, working on only one’s own, while never expecting anything in return.  And try to woo those relationships, however dysfunctional, with one’s very best effort.
  17. When we give up on our studies, work, or long-term relationships, we are taking the wrong route. If instead of giving up, we give our studies, work, or relationships our very best effort, then everything has the power to transform into fulfillment.
  18. Once again, and most importantly, keep all thoughts positive. And stay happy no matter what. Happiness is a choice.
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