Avoid the Pressure Paralysis


All of us know what it feels like to face the pressure of a big decision: What university should I attend? Should I take this new job? Should I quit my job? Do I take the last-second shot or do I pass the ball? While pressure might be inevitable when it comes to making decisions, what you do with that pressure is up to you. A few days ago, I came across this post from Seth Godin that explains what to do when you feel like you’re under a lot of pressure. In the post, Seth explains that the pressure we feel is only because we create it. In fact, here’s what he says about the pressure you’re facing:

Unless you’re in a James Bond movie, it’s really unlikely that the pressure that you’re feeling is anything but self-induced.”

Seth’s basic premise in the blog is that when you face the pressure head on and defeat it, the pressure begins to decrease. Ultimately, you reach the point where the pressure doesn’t even exist anymore.

How can you use the pressure of your decision to your benefit?

Seth explains that what you do with the pressure you’re feeling is entirely up to you. If it’s not helping you do great work or make the right decision, don’t embrace it. When you don’t embrace the pressure, it ceases to be pressure.

The moment you start to feel the pressure of a big decision, you have two options:

  1. Embrace the pressure and let it cause you to stress, worry, and possibly crumble under the weight of it.
  1. Realize that the pressure you’re feeling means you’re about to make a decision that is going to help you learn, grow, and ultimately succeed no matter what decision you make.

Here’s what I know – making the “wrong” decision in non-moral options is better than not making a decision at all. There have been many successful people who have made a wrong decision about launching a business, running for office, or starting a ministry. However, even in their failure, they were able to learn and grow. If they had crumbled under the pressure, they would have never reached success.

So, the next time you’re facing a big decision, remember the two options. Granted, the first “high-pressure decision” is always the hardest. However, in time you’ll begin to realize that if you continue to push past the pressure, each tough decision you make becomes easier and easier.

What decision are you facing that’s causing pressure? What did you take away from Seth’s advice that can help you make a decision?