Never Choke Again

Maybe you have a big presentation coming up and you are really nervous that you might bomb. Perhaps you are coming up to a deadline for a major project and you’re scared that you won’t finish it on time. What if you are in a tennis league and you’ve made it further in the annual tournament than you ever have before and are panicky about your upcoming match?

All these fears have one logical, fearful component that has you rattled. You are worried that you are going to choke at the critical moment. It may have happened to you before and that body memory is instilled and causing you all kinds of angst. Bad news all around, perhaps but this week’s Resilient Wednesday found a great alternative for you to try out.

A recent study done at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine suggested that a relatively simple technique could be used to reduce the risk of choking. The researcher’s noted that when their test subjects were competing for a prize, as they increased the stakes at risk, participant’s performance faltered—they choked.

When the researcher’s changed the experiment to tell the subjects that they had already won the prize and now they were competing to hold the prize, they saw a stable level of performance and a dramatic decrease in “choking.”

It seems as if this simple mental “reappraisal” technique reduced the associated stress with trying to win and helped people actualize the idea that “possession is 9/10 of the law” and that allowed people to perform in a calmer and more effective manner.

So, think about the time you nailed that presentation, finished a big project with time to spare, and hit the winning overhead for the match. You already got this!

Your challenge this week: Consider a difficult situation that you might have coming up and create a visual picture where you have already won the day and owned the success. Claim the victory that you know you already had. Let me know how that goes. If it doesn’t work, call me and we’ll get you and your team resilient ready!

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019


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