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Performing Under Pressure: Gaining the Mental Edge in Business and Sport by Saul L Miller

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Chapter 1. PRESSURE

The mind operates at both an instinctive and a highly conscious level. The instincti ve brain is an action brain. It doesn't think; it simply reacts. It serves as an energizer, transforming impulse into action, receiving incoming (sensory) messages, relaying them, and firing outgoing (motor) responses. With the conscious mind we set goals, analyze, interpret, image, affirm, reason, adjust, and respond.

When we're performing well, there's an effective and remarkably complex interplay between these two levelsofmental function. However, there are times when we get frightened, nervous, and tense up, when the conscious mind overanalyzes and over-responds to incoming messages. We think too much, say negative things to ourselves, and interrupt the smooth flowof input to output. There are times when we try too hard, ignore our intuition, and worry about things going wrong, instead of focusing on being smooth and effective and fully embracing the moment. This kind of performance "dis-ease" is frequently called pressure.

"What is pressure? Where do es it come from? Is it inside or outs ide you? Who creates it?"

I was seated in the office of the vice president of sales of a company I'd been consulting with for several years. The VP was interviewing for the position of regional sales director and asked me to listen in. The man being interviewed was an experienced, successful salesman. Still, it was an important career meeting for him, and he was nervous. His response to the ...

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