How To Think 100X Faster Under Pressure
High-pressure situations are, unfortunately, absolutely inevitable.
Whatever it is that you want, oftentimes, it comes after a high-pressure situation.
Whether it’s an interview, a networking event, or a date, it’s those times where we really would like an outcome that we feel the most pressure.
And unfortunately, all too often we go home kicking ourselves saying, “Why did I say that and why didn’t I just say that other thing?”
So that’s why, in this article, I want to help you think more sharply and more quickly in those high-pressure situations so you don’t wind up at home kicking yourself and instead you are celebrating your big win.
#1. Change your state by doing the opposite
The first thing is to initially recognize that high-pressure situations caused us to do the exact opposite of what we would if we were going to do things well.
And what that means is that when somebody approaches you at work and they’re being hypercritical, what is the instinct? It’s to shut down and close off.
If somebody walks into a room that you really would like to speak to whether it’s a mentor or a date, the instinct is to have your heart race, breathe really shallow, then go,
“What do I say? What do I say? What do I say?”
We need to do the opposite of these things physically.
So in that case in work, rather than shutting it down going like this and defending yourself, consciously unpeel your arms, expose your vulnerable spots or you can even lift your neck showing your chest.
That’s going to send a signal to your body to slow things down, calm down, and it’s gonna help your brain think more quickly and more clearly.
If you’re having that person walk in the room and you notice that you start to hyperventilate, take a deep breath — and even that was a shallow one —
I’m gonna take a deep one into my belly right now.
And you will immediately hear it in my voice; it slows things down and it gives you time to think.
If there’s someone you’d like to approach and you’re all nervous and the instinct is to close your body language off again, gesticulate, speak quietly, and you’re often times going to have to do the opposite — speak loudly and approach them with a smile.
The first thing is to change your state by doing the opposite of what your body wants to do; that’s going to help you think more quickly right off the bat.
#2. Know what to say in any high-pressure situation
The second thing in these high-pressure situations is to realize that people who perform well in them oftentimes know the first thing that they’re going to say or do when they enter into a high-pressure situation.
So one of the things that would often happen to me when I was abroad is that there will be someone that I’d want to speak to for whatever reason.
And because I didn’t speak the language when I was living in Brazil, I would go, “Shoot, what do I say? I don’t know the word for that; let me think about that,” and the situation would be gone and I would just blow it.
What I realized that I could do instead was have the first thing that I knew I could say every single time to get the conversation started on the right foot and that genius thing that I would say is that walk up and in Portuguese or in English
I’d say, “Hey, do you speak English?”
And right away, that got the person knowing, “Okay, this guy is a foreigner. I need to speak more slowly,” and it got us started in a conversation that let me think about what I was going to say.
So for you, whatever the situation is — think it’s a social situation — you want to know what you’re able to say in any circumstance to approach anyone.
Now, there’s not just one thing I actually have an article on a handful of things that you can use to start conversations but one that is widely used is this —
“Hey! I don’t think I’ve met you yet. I’m Charlie!”
And then you shake their hand and of course, you say your name.
That, you can use in networking events, in bars, at parties… any sort of social scenario where there is an expectation that people will mingle, that is gold.
If you want others, check that article out — I don’t want to go into too many but the point here knows that the first phrase or thing that you were going to do, that’s gonna get you started off on the right foot.
Beyond that though, now we’re in a scenario where this conversation and interaction is evolving and you can’t possibly know every single thing you’re gonna say.
If you’re on a date, you can’t map it out word-for-word.
Earlier in my life, I know that I wished I could have to avert some horrible dates.
But instead, what is helpful now that you’re in the meat of an interaction is to have a framework.
#3. Know your framework
What a lot of people don’t realize is that every date that goes well even though it might
look completely different has an underlying framework that is strikingly similar.
And if you know that framework, you can pull up and ask yourself,
“Okay, where are we in this date framework process?” and I don’t mean to sound so scientific so let me break it down.
The first thing that makes a good date a good romantic interaction is an intrigue.
It’s feeling like you and the person that you’re talking to that there’s some sort of spark that you’re playful that you’re funny that it’s light at first and that there’s even maybe an air of mystery.
That’s the first piece.
The second piece is the sharing and comparing of values.
And a lot of people get this wrong because they don’t have a framework, some people go into an interaction and they immediately start talking with the state about their hopes, their dreams, and their aspirations and unfortunately, what happens is the other person is thinking, “Okay, that’s nice to know but who the heck are you? Why do I care about this?”
Instead, you need to start first with that fun light stuff and then share your values.
And alternately, if you skip your values you’re not really going to connect.
The third piece is that if it is going to change from just our friendship into something romantic, there needs to be a physical tension or some sort of sexual tension going on and that starts with comfortable prolonged eye contact that moves maybe to feeling more comfortable with you touching the other person’s arm and vice versa.
As things escalate, maybe you’re more comfortable dancing, you touch one another on the waist and of course, it can end in a kiss or even beyond that.
The point is knowing that good dates have these three elements at a high level — that there’s intrigue, there sharing of values, and there’s physical tension — lets you go,
“Holy cow! This date is going great, we’re having a fantastic conversation, we’re connecting, but there’s no tension at all physically between us. Maybe we should go somewhere and dance.”
And I’ve done that in the past and it absolutely turned dates from good into, “Okay, there’s a genuine spark here.”
So know your frameworks.
I don’t have time to go through all of them — there’s selling frameworks, there are confrontation frameworks, there are frameworks for a first impression…
I’m going to link to a whole bunch of them down below.
We’ve done this stuff on the website but if you know your framework, it enables you to not have to think about all the million things that you could say in any sort of instant and instead say the ones that are gonna make the interaction the best.
The last thing that I will say here is that after you’ve got a framework, there are course gonna be times where the pressures on, you didn’t see it coming, you don’t have time to change your state and you don’t know what to do.
So maybe you are at a boardroom event, somebody asked you for your opinion, and you’re just a deer in headlights; what do you do then?
A very, very helpful thing in this situation is to simply repeat back the last few words that the person said in a questioning form.
So they say something and you’re not paying attention and, “What do you think of the proposal, Charlie?”
I go, “Uh… so what do I think of the proposal?”
And oftentimes, what that gets people to do is go, “Yeah, what do you think?
Do you think we should go with Supplier A or we should go with Supplier B?”
Not only are they clarifying the question hopefully letting you have that extra time you need to think but you’re also going to hear the specifics of what they want to know from you.
They’re going to fill in the blank of the specific way they would like you to answer that question.
#4. Summary on how to deal with high-pressure situations
So at a high level, this is how you handle those pressure situations first, state; get your body in line.
This is why you see basketball players, when they’re shooting foul shots, they have a ritual; it’s why tennis players have a ritual before serving; and it’s why you need a ritual before you walk up to someone that you’re interested in, before you go into a networking event, before you enter into an interview…
you have to have a ritual that changes your state from that closed-off uncomfortable nervous state to a confident powerful one — that’s number one.
Number two is going to be making sure that you know the first thing you’re gonna do or say; we’ve talked about that.
Number three, get your framework.
There are lots of frameworks I’ll link to below.
One that is incredibly important is the framework for a first impression.
And you might have heard me talk about this but there are four emotions that guarantee you make a good first impression but like the dating framework, if you do these out of order, they don’t work.
And so if you want to know what those four emotions are, we actually set up an article,
you can check it out; there’s a link a special one in the description. I’ll put it up here in a card somewhere where you can go to a page drop your email and watch an article that walks you through the four motions that create an amazing first impression no matter where you are.
At least in the places, I visited — this is North America, South America,
Europe, some parts of Asia — this works
So I hope that you have found this article useful, I hope you find that you can think faster and more clearly in those pressure situations and I look forward to seeing you guys in the next article.