Why You Should Apply Pressure on Yourself to Succeed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.

When we think of feeling “under pressure”, the immediate connotation is usually negative. It’s understandable – given the choice, many would choose not to feel pressured in any situation; it is not an exceptionally comfortable emotion. Nevertheless, it can be useful in all facets of life, especially when it comes to your career path.

Historian Thomas Carlyle said, “no pressure, no diamonds”, indicating that coal cannot reach its true potential of becoming a diamond without it. Likewise, the right amount of pressure will help you achieve your goals when you know how to handle it and manage it in a healthy way that doesn’t harm your overall well-being.

Related: 5 Habits Every CEO Should Avoid to Be a Truly Remarkable Leader

1. Character over comfort

To some extent, it’s a choice. You can get through life by prioritizing short-term comfort and avoiding situations that bring a high level of pressure. Still, it probably won’t be a very rewarding experience. It is natural to prefer easy and comfortable situations, it is human. Unfortunately, you will have to endure and welcome the most difficult experiences to stimulate character development and growth.

Without the moments that push us, we remain stagnant, and forcing yourself to work through the discomfort does your future self a great service. Think back to an outstanding achievement – ​​a widely known historical example or something personal that happened in your own life. To the best of your knowledge, would this goal have been achieved or would this milestone have been achieved without a level of discomfort and pressure?

When I think of the times in my life when I felt most proud of myself or achieved the most rewarding result, none of them could have happened without hard work. I have never regretted putting myself under pressure, and I will continue to do so whenever the opportunity arises.

Related: 5 Ways to Become One of the Top Performers in Any Company

2. Muscle training

As with so many things, working under pressure gets easier with practice. It’s like a muscle or a skill – you have to train it to make it stronger. No one walks into the weight room for the first time and squats with 400 pounds, and that wouldn’t be recommended either. Without training, you will only hurt yourself.

There’s a reason why Lionel Messi is consistently picked to take shots on goal; he’s taken so much before and found a way to be comfortable and successful through what is arguably the most stressful moment of the game. He’s been put in the situation before and taken on the challenge many times in ways that other players haven’t mastered yet.

If you can find a way to embrace the times when you feel like the pressure is tightening, it will get easier the more often it happens. Continually putting yourself in an awkward position will only serve you in the long run, especially because as you progress and grow, the frequency of these moments will also increase. It’s a cliché, but it’s true: with great reward comes great responsibility, and as you achieve more or achieve success, you’ll need that strengthened muscle to deal with the challenges. moments of increased pressure.

Related: A 4-Step Guide to Dealing with Failure and Getting Back in Place

3. Manage the pressure

If you’re someone who regularly experiences a high level of pressure, chances are you’re also constantly trying to do better in most facets of life – the two tend to go hand in hand. Even when you lean on the positive side, you’ll still have to find a way to deal with that pressure.

Different people have different strategies, but something I’ve found crucial is recognizing the adrenaline that comes with feeling pressured. On a physical level, the fear you might feel during these times isn’t all that different from the feeling you feel when you’re excited, like climbing the top of a roller coaster. The trick is to channel that adrenaline into it and use it to fuel excitement rather than fear. Think about what could go right rather than what could go wrong, or if that proves too difficult, allow yourself to think about what could go wrong and go through it anyway to feel more prepared.

One strategy might be to tap into a friend with complementary strengths. I might be asked to jump out of a plane tomorrow and not think twice about it, but if you ask me to strap on an oxygen tank and go scuba diving, the “yes” doesn’t won’t come so quickly. Having a friend who might be terrified of heights but who feels at home in the water would be the perfect match as we can push each other and relieve some of the pressure the other might be feeling.

Inevitably, the best way to deal with pressure is to become familiar with the physical sensations it elicits, but these strategies can be a big help before you get to that point.

If you’re struggling to achieve a true sense of comfort, seeing the pressure through the prism of privilege can be extremely helpful. Billie Jean King wrote an entire book on the subject where she said, “Pressure is a privilege, it only comes to those who earn it.” The privilege and opportunity to feel the pressure of competition and performance is not experienced by everyone. This fact alone can, at times, make it easier to manage. When progress feels hard, know that it’s meant to be, but that doesn’t have to stop you from using all the tools in your arsenal. If you can take control of the situations that cause that good pressure rather than walk away from it, you will eventually find success in an even more rewarding way.