People who thrive under pressure usually do these 10 things differently to others

How well do you do under pressure?

Speaking personally, not great. Like many people, I have a tendency to collapse under pressure. When I feel stressed out, I often make poor decisions that end up making a bad situation worse.

But not everyone is like that. In fact, some people are better under pressure than they are without it.

These are people that function better when the stakes are high, and may even need a little bit of pressure to get them to perform at their best.

So what’s their secret? Well, there are some behaviors that can indicate someone who performs at their best under pressure. Here are some things to look out for.

1) They stay positive

Staying positive is one of the most important aspects when it comes to dealing with the pressures of life.

Sooner or later, we all encounter struggles, no matter what we’re trying to do. But the difference between people who persevere and those who don’t is often a matter of attitude.

And staying positive can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, when people stay positive, they tend to perform better and get better outcomes, which in turn allows them to stay positive even in hard times.

“Performance suffers when the mind is preoccupied with worries, doubts, or fears, instead of focusing its attention on performing the task at hand,” says educator Pen Pen Chen. “When relevant and irrelevant thoughts compete for the same attention, something has to give. The brain can only process so much information at once.”

Staying positive doesn’t mean being blind to challenges and hardships. But it does mean staying focused on possible solutions instead of dwelling on the problems.

This frees your mind up to focus on your performance instead of getting bogged down with your fears.

2) They embrace challenges

Embracing challenges isn’t easy. After all, there’s a part of all of us that just wants an easy life.

But often, it’s your willingness to embrace challenge that defines your success. Nobody ever achieved something meaningful in life without facing challenges. And how you face down those challenges determines how far you’ll go.

When we’re under pressure, it’s easy to let challenges get the better of us. Whether the pressure is time, money, or something else, pressure makes any kind of challenge even more daunting.

People who thrive under pressure understand that challenges can often lead to greater things. By embracing and understanding the challenges we face, we learn better ways to go after our goals and become stronger people.

3) They get organized

Don’t underestimate the power of organization.

For most of us, when pressure is applied, we have a tendency to panic. We will simply react to what is happening, not taking the time to think through the best course of action that will alleviate some of the pressure on ourselves.

People who are great at dealing with pressure are the opposite. When things get tough, they know that having a system of organization will help to alleviate the pressure.

It’s part of how they stay calm and focused no matter what pressure they are under.

4) They develop a support network

Sometimes, you’re only as good as the people you know.

That’s why people who thrive under pressure have a good support network. Whether it’s family, friends, or professional colleagues, they have people they can rely on both for emotional support and practical help.

The key to a good support network is developing it when you don’t need it. By the time you feel under pressure, it’s probably too late.

But people who are good under pressure will have already developed their network so they know who to turn to whenever they need help.

5) They stay calm

We all have a similar reaction to stress. The emotional part of our brain, the amygdala, takes over. In a response honed by millions of years of evolution, our natural reaction is to either fight or run away.

People who are good under pressure know that this isn’t helpful. The instincts that saved our monkey ancestors from predators aren’t particularly useful in the modern world.

Instead, they practice emotional control.

When we are stressed, “our ability to think clearly is impacted, and concentration and problem-solving skills weakened. We also release a stress hormone called cortisol,” writes psychologist Amanda Dudley. This elevated cortisol level can wreak havoc on our memory and even our immune system.

Fortunately, there are several ways to stay calm under pressure and reduce this stress reaction:

  • Exercise
  • Positive visualizations
  • Meditation
  • A healthy lifestyle
  • Good time management

People who thrive under pressure practice these positive habits that help them stay calm when other people are panicking.

6.) They focus on what they can control

habits of people who consistently make wise decisions under pressure People who thrive under pressure usually do these 10 things differently to others

In every life, we are subject to things we can’t control. Our genetics, our economic background, politics, and even the weather are all things that we have very limited control over.

At the same time, lots of aspects of our lives are within our control.

The key to staying calm under pressure is knowing the difference between what you can control and what you can’t.

Then, you need to let go of the things you can’t control and instead use your energy to affect the things you can.

This is easier said than done. It takes time and practice to learn how to let go of things you can’t control. But when you do, you’ll find yourself better able to deal with stress and better able to focus your energy on the things you can change.

7) They take care of themselves

When we’re under pressure, it’s easy to neglect self-care. But people who thrive under pressure know that that’s when it’s more important than ever.

I’m talking about things like getting regular exercise to keep your body in good shape and your stress levels low. But I’m also talking about things like maintaining your relationships and carving out time for relaxing or enjoyable activities.

When you have an important deadline to meet, it’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing every ounce of your being on meeting it. But that’s how people burn out.

People who thrive under pressure take the time to look after themselves even when time is short. And while it may seem counterintuitive, that’s exactly how they perform so well in tough times.

8) They focus on the big picture

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote that “he who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”

In other words, if you know why you are going through hard times, it’s much easier to endure them.

That means staying focused on the big picture.

People who thrive under pressure know what their goals are, and they know that they are worth pursuing. This focus on what they want to achieve allows them to put up with all kinds of challenges along the way.

9) They manage stress

Dealing with stress is one of the main factors that allows a person to thrive under pressure.

We all face stress from time to time. But people who thrive under pressure have found ways to deal with that stress so that it doesn’t affect their performance.

Physical exercise can be a great way to deal with mental stress. On the other hand, practices like mindfulness meditation can also be extremely useful in keeping stress levels down.

There are lots of different ways to deal with stress, and everyone has their favorites. People who thrive under pressure know exactly how to deal with their own stress so that they can keep their performance at the highest possible level.

10) They continuously improve

It’s a fact of life that the things that most challenge us are usually the things that make us better.

After all, almost nothing worth doing is easy. And the greater your ambitions, the greater the challenges you will face along the way.

This goes back to that positive attitude I talked about at the start of this article. People who are great under pressure understand that setbacks are nothing more than an opportunity to improve.

When things go wrong, think of it as the universe teaching you what won’t work. This allows you to abandon unhelpful practices and instead focus on what will get you closer to your goals.

People who are good at dealing with stress see every hardship they face as an opportunity to learn and improve. And that helps them avoid crumbling under pressure.

Dealing with pressure

We all have different ways of dealing with pressure in our lives. What matters most is that you find a path that works for you.

Incorporate these practices in your daily life, and you’ll be building resilience to pressure in many different ways. So when the pressure comes – which it definitely will – you’ll be ready to face it.

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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