Several months ago, I have applied for a job which I really liked. It was not only the job that was interesting, but also the company, industry of the future, full of changes and challenges. Actually, I liked it so much that I had to get it. It was not any more I would like to have it but I have to have it. I must. I can not imagine my future without getting it.
After the initial interview, it seemed that I got the job. But no - I had to do some intelligence and personality tests. There is no worse word for a candidate than test. I started to prepare 24/7. Reading, solving logical problems, sudoku, chess, Rubicon cube,... Full throttle. When the day of the test came, I was so nervous that my hand shook. My pulse was like in rabbits. Cold hands. If somebody touched me that day, he would probably not talk to me ever again. I have pushed myself to the edge.
The test was finished in such a frenzy that I didn't know how have I done it. Was it good or bad? There was no middle. I could only think black and white. Soon I got invited to second round of interviews where I found out that my score was pretty high. I could not belive. After the interview I had the most powerfull headache in my life. My mental tank was empty and my engine was overheating.
Why? Why did I act like that? Why was in a state of black-and-white, close to mental breakdown? Why did my pulse during test jump so high, shaking, sweating? The answer is easy - I have managed to convince myself that if I failed, there would be no more tomorrow. Nothing. Creating pressure situation, all control was lost - over my body and over my mind. Fight of flight mindset. That is what high levels of cortisol do to your body when you are under pressure.
What it also does is that it destroys your creativity. Pressure forces you to make safe solutions, not the best one. In that way, even best of the best become average. Novak Djokovic is Novak Djokovic because he does not choke himself under pressure. He does not play better under pressure. He just does not play worse than he usually does. He keeps his level constant throughout the match.
If we go back to my job application - of course there was tomorrow. There are so many opportunities, I would surely get a job somewhere else. Maybe even better one. And what is more important - failing would not mean anything. I would not die, I would not be mocked. Why even care what other people think?
Correct mindset is - give your best. Sometimes in life there will be situations where you don't want to fail, like business presentation, sport competition or important public speech. Say I want to win, not I need to win. Always remember that there will be tomorrow. And if you fail - so what? Sometimes you have to fail to reach the goal. Other peoples opinion does not have any influence on you. Have confidence. Trust yourself, always. And keep trying!
Whenever you have a doubt in yourself, think about your past, about your previous successes. In that way you will find out that the current situation is not such a big challenge. You have already done something great!
Pressure makes diamonds - George S. Patton Jr.