Why being under pressure is the best thing that can happen to you

Any moment, under any circumstance, we experience some kind of pressure. A proposal to a client, a concert ticket we need to buy before it runs out, getting good grades in school.

There are different types of pressure, and each type causes different effects. Depending on how we manage that pressure, it can result in a positive or a negative outcome.

There is not such thing as a 100% bad situation. And there is no such thing as “perfection”. Nothing is too bad, and nothing is too good. One of the most important skills that everyone should learn is how to transform negative pressure into positive pressure.

Negative pressure

Negative pressure is what we usually find among most people. “I´m under a lot of pressure” is the typical phrase we hear.

This type of pressure is labeled as “negative” when the outcome is affecting the person in a negative way. “I want to work very hard for the next five years, then I want to retire and do nothing”. Someone who says this will most likely to be negatively pressured. The final objective for which he is working is poorly defined, is a blurred and abstract concept. Having said that and saying nothing is the same thing. The subconscious won´t want to work harder, because the five-year objective is not clearly defined.

The means we use to achieve this goal are inadequate. This guy who wants to work harder for the next five years doesn´t really know why he is doing it, and five years from now that negative pressure will remain, and in the end, everything is going to be wasted effort.

Positive pressure

On the other side, positive pressure is created when we are aware of why are we are under pressure, and we understand our specific goals. Having clear objectives allows us to channel the pressure that people, time and specific situations exert on us, to effectively achieve a goal.

The important thing here is to to learn to identify what kind of pressure is affecting us, and transform everything that happens into positive pressure. That´s how we will avoid spending time and energy on something that we haven´t defined.

How to transform negative pressure into positive one? How to channel that pressure to generate outstanding results?

It´s inevitable to be under pressure, but we can avoid the consequences of being affected by that pressure. The key is to understand how to take advantage of that stress and transform it into results.

This pressure can be channeled into constructive or destructive energy, and like all types of energy, it cannot be destroyed, only transformed.

Now that it´s clear how pressure affects us, and that there are two types of pressure, it´s time to delve into how to channel it to take advantage of the positive pressure.

 Learning how to channel

The first step is to identify why are we feeling uncomfortable, pressured and stressed with the situation. We need to ask what is the main cause of this discomfort:

  • Lack of knowledge about the topic
  • Lack of time to carry it out
  • Spend time with people who stress us

When we deal with things that we don´t like, that make us uncomfortable, we predispose ourselves. We build barriers, and we block. We can´t think on how to stop being uncomfortable.

How to avoid this? To do things we don´t like, we need to have an incentive. And to define this incentive, we need to have a clear objective. Always be clear about why you are doing what you are doing. I many cases, pressure crushes us because we tend to do things in “autopilot” without asking the questions about incentives that I just mentioned.

Using this questions will help us to: Define if the activity that we are doing (that activity that is making us feel pressure) is creating value for us, and define specific solutions to stop feeling pressured about it.

A concrete example

Everyone, at some point, have felt time pressure. Personally, one of the situations that generates me stress and pressure is to be late. But if you think about it, it’s a stupid thing to be worried about. 90% of the time you can control your schedule, and be sure to be on time for meetings or appointments.

What if you turn off the TV and leave home ten minutes earlier?

Nobody has said being under pressure is bad, we are all under pressure. The difference lies in the way we use and leverage that pressure to generate results and achieve things. The key is to identify the root of the pressure, then generate incentives to face and deal with that presssure, and then chanel that into concrete actions.

It´s our choice, focus and take advantage or get crushed by that pressure…