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

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Chapter 2. POWER THOUGHTS

In Chapter 1, pressure was described as a force growing out of an intense desire to be or do something more. That drive can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it's energizing. It moves us to action. On the other hand, the push for more creates pressure. One antidote to motivational pressure is clarity. Once a goal is defined, it is our programming that supports and sustains us in our quest to realize that goal. That is, the way we talk to ourselves, the images we bring to mind, and our attitudes can help us manage the challenges and pressure we face along the way, or lead to our disappointment.

We think 50,000 to 60,000 thousand thoughts a day—all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts continuously flow through our minds. To be a consistent high-level performer, it's imperative to think thoughts that are positive and empowering. However, research suggests for most people, approximately two-thirds of their thinking may be critical and limiting. This is especially true at times of pressure and stress. The problem is that negative, limiting thoughts create tension and stimulate anxious feelings and negative memories. Of course, it doesn't have to be that way. If what you're thinking doesn't give you power or pleasure; if you experience yourself dwelling on negatives, like, "I can't," "I doubt," "Don't blow it," or even the somewhat dubious "Well, I'll try," the solution is to take a breath and refocus on the positive. Instead of worrying and wondering, think "I am," ...

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