How do you handle pressure?
Mental Edge Monday
Topic #47: How do you handle pressure?
If you haven't seen this video yet, take a quick look. It's a heart-warming example of someone who decided to act in the face of a pressure-filled situation.
Maurice "Mo" Cheeks (the Portland Trailblazer's coach at the time of this video) is a former professional basketball player with a storied NBA career. Natalie Gilbert was a 13-year singer who was sick with the flu but decided she still wanted to sing the National Anthem in front of 20,000 fans.
Obviously, there's no denying that this was a pressure-filled situation. When Natalie first lost her place in the song, how many seconds did it take before Coach Cheeks made his move? Take a guess without rewinding the video?
- 45 seconds
- 30 seconds
- 20 seconds
- 8 seconds
The answer is about 8 seconds. My hunch is that most people would have guessed a lot longer than that. Didn't it seem like forever? It was so painful to see that poor girl standing there with no idea how to get out of the situation.
What made Coach Cheeks react so quickly? What if he hadn't reacted? Would someone else have stepped up? Anybody could have come to Natalie's aid - from the officials, to the scoreboard keeper, to the security guard. What made Coach Cheeks act?
Would you have stepped up?
It's impossible to know how we all would have reacted in that situation. We can all assume that we would have been as gallant and debonair as Coach Cheeks, but we don't know.
There are three ways to react to situations like this:
Coach Cheeks opted for Choice #1. I'm sure it wasn't a conscious decision. He just did what he thought was right at the time.
Things like this happen all the time. Have you ever been in a restaurant when someone starts to choke? Or at a bar when fists start to fly? Or at a department store when an older person slips and falls? Or when you hear screaming outside your house at 2am?
Do you get involved? Do you act? Do you waffle? Do you ignore it?
Those who act immediately are typically self-assured, confident, and resourceful.
Those who "waffle" have a lively debate in their minds about whether they should do something or not. Their eyes dart around, they take a 1/2 step forward and then a 1/2 step back, they begin to calculate all the things that could go wrong or right if they acted. Their stomach starts to churn. Their blood pressure goes up. They're waffling.
Those who take the "wait and see" attitude don't budge. They don't have much of a physiological reaction to the situation. They don't care to get involved because of the potential risks. They are happy to let the responsibility fall on someone else.
There is no "right or wrong" way to act in these situations. The way we react is immediate and likely a reflection of our attitude and worldview in general.
The next time you get into one of these emergency situations, reflect on how you reacted and what that might say about you.
Have you experienced something like this before? How did you react? Were you happy with the result? Would you do it all over again if given the chance?
Until next week, Keep the Edge.
Phil Black (FitDeck Founder)