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How to be fearless under pressure is important to know for everyone. Especially if you want to remain calm in certain situations, the most reliable way isn’t simply by focusing on keeping a straight face or a deadpan stare.
In fact, the more you think about your facial expressions when you’re nervous, the more likely you are to actually blush; so even though people notice the unflinching face, the best way to get there is through what’s called exposure therapy.
Basically, you put yourself into less challenging simulations of whatever difficult scenario you’re about to face. So if you’re going to interview, doing a mock interview with a friend or even touring the building that you’ll be interviewing in can go a long way to calming your nerves on the big day.
Or if you want to be more comfortable in social situations, saying a single extra sentence to a service person can challenge you without triggering total panic.
Experience also shows what happens if you expose yourself to overwhelming situations rather than gradations of slightly more challenging ones. When overwhelmed you can become traumatized and while you may retain total coolness in stressful moments, you will inevitably find destructive coping mechanisms to deal with what you haven’t faced.
Tools to reduce pressure
Outsmarting people requires more than just composure and often has to persuade people that have every reason to hate. You need to exhibit powerful tools that regularly keep you in control.
State breaking questions
The first tool is use of state breaking questions. When we’re under pressure our natural response is to go with the flow and passively accept the conversational pace set by someone who’s in a position of power over us.
However in doing so we surrender our power during that conversation which in a negotiation usually leads to an unfavorable deal. This state breaking question is a seemingly out-of-place question that breaks the one-sided conversational flow and from there, conversation is much easier to steer in a new direction.
It can be an incredibly persuasive tool especially when someone’s emotional state is preventing them from moving forward productively. For instance, if someone is feeling upset asking a random light-hearted question can snap their state for long enough for them to consider more empowering possibilities.
So keep this in mind when your emotions or someone else’s get out of control, asking a seemingly irrelevant question gives you the opportunity to retake control of the situation and move it towards a more productive solution.
However, a simple question isn’t going to instantly put someone on your side. In fact other people can be counted on to continue to pursue their own agendas which is why you need finding a way to align your needs with the other person.
Give and Take rule
Now this brings us to the next point when you really needs something done just solve someone’s problem and give both the carrot and the stick which is a much stronger motivation when you’re trying to affect large changes.
Now in order to do this effectively you cannot imagine that other people want the same things as you. You must try to first view the world from their perspective.
I know this may sound obvious but so few people follow this advice instead they offer others what they would want, never getting anywhere so before offering help you need to make sure you understand the other person’s world.
Do some research what others want and if after all of your research, you’re still unclear on what they want, you can always just ask them in the course of conversation.
One concrete area that you can put this to use in your own life isn’t connecting with someone that you might like as a mentor, say CEO or influencer whoever.
The internet makes it easier than ever to get in touch with these people, but it also means that they get more of these requests than ever before.
So, rather than the typical let’s chat over coffee, research a particular problem they may have and then offer to discuss how specifically you can help. This is a much more effective way to start that relationship.
One of the best ways to get what you want is to seriously consider how you can get other people what they want. It activates reciprocity and creates allies that can open up incredible opportunities.
Some people are motivated more by the prospect of gaining something. Others by the fear of losing something and all of us are motivated when there’s a particular path that wages both of those desires which is why make sure to hit on both.
Fear of loosing
This is a far superior persuasive strategy than simply commanding or threatening people and it’s incredibly helpful when you’re trying to inspire any group of people. So, whether it’s in school or work, when there’s a team of people that you’re trying to move towards a common goal or if it’s in business when you’re trying to explain the value of a product that you’re selling, don’t just talk about what someone can gain if they follow your vision but instead on what they might miss out if they don’t.
Turn trash into resources
Now this takes us to the last piece, the strategy of turning trash into resources is how some of the most elegant and brilliant solutions are created in the real world. It can be a trash situation or it can be literal trash like in the case of Boyan Slat who is cleaning up huge clumps of trash in our oceans.
Most people see the problem of litter and pollution as one that they might like to tackle but the economics just don’t work until you have the breakthrough idea of viewing the trash that you’re trying to clean up as a resource which is exactly what Boyan did.
Selling the massive amounts of plastic that he finds in the ocean to recycling plants, cleaning up the ocean and building a profitable business in one fell swoop.
The point is the bad things in your life may only appear bad in a particular context if you could put those things into a completely new and different context you can turn something that everyone else overlooked into a valuable resource.
So, an extremely powerful question to ask when you’re frustrated that how you can turn this trash into a resource?