Have you ever been in a fight?
Have you ever been really scared or really angry or really intensely aroused in some way?
Things get messy, don’t they. Our vision narrows and our logic gets lost.
Once your heart rate hits about 175 beats per minute, you can’t think and your body starts shutting down. It’s not your fault: People stop being able to think with our forebrain gets taken over by our midbrain – the part that’s the same as your dog’s (all mammals have that part of our brain).
Under extreme pressure, you might not even be able to dial the emergency services phone number!
You need to rehearse your key skills to the point that you are ‘hard wired’.
I am contemplating returning to teaching martial arts. And, as I looked at my potential group of students on Tuesday night, seeing their struggles and noticing their strengths, I was reminded of the fundamental parallels between martial arts.
We need to be present in whatever we are doing – totally focused on the task at hand – rather than thinking about the past or imagining the future. Planning is necessary and good, though the time to plan and the time to act are distinct; when it is time to plan, plan, and when it is time to execute, execute. Too many great plans fail due to sloppy execution and I have found that something that we can do – now – is to focus on whatever your task happens to be in this moment.
How do you perform under pressure?