The truth about pressure

An experiment I've often done in live talks and trainings is to ask the audience to consider each of the following scenarios: 

- You have an hour to get somewhere that's 30 minutes away - do you feel pressure? 

- You have 30 minutes to get somewhere that's 30 minutes away - do you feel pressure? 

- You have 15 minutes to get somewhere that's 30 minutes away - do you feel pressure? 

Only about 15% of people would feel pressure in the first scenario; about 50% feel it in the second scenario; and about 50% say they would feel it in scenario three.

Most people are surprised by those figures. After all, our instinctive prediction is that the amount of pressure people experience should go up the more time sensitive a task becomes, which suggests the stats should be more like 0% for the first situation, 50% for the second, and 100% for the third.

When asked, people who say they'd feel pressure in the first and second situation generally explain it as being to do with concerns about traffic, flat tires, and other unexpected or unpredictable delays. People who don't feel pressure in those same circumstances generally can't understand why somebody would feel pressure when there's enough or more than enough time for the task at hand.

In the third scenario, people who would feel pressure think it's obvious why you would feel pressure when there isn't enough time for the task at hand, while those that don't explain it as recognizing the futility of struggling to do something that can't be done. They actually find the impossibility of the task at hand 'takes the pressure off'.

Are some of these people rational and the others irrational? If pressure is a function of our circumstances, shouldn't we all feel roughly the same amount of pressure in the same circumstances?

The reason we don't is because like all of our experience, pressure is 100% created from the inside-out. It's not created by your deadline. It's not created by your boss. It's not a 'virus' you catch from your environment. It is entirely a product of Thought.

If we think our well-being is on the line in some way, we will feel pressure. If we don't think those thoughts, we won't feel that pressure. And because well-being is innate, it can never be 'on the line'.

Well-being is our nature. That doesn't mean we always feel good - any one of us can get caught up in thought at any time, and in so doing we become instantly subject to every emotional colour in the spectrum. But to say that means that well-being comes and goes would be like saying that because there are clouds, the sun is not always present. Even in the darkest hour, the sun is still there, right where it's always been - it's just that in some moments, there is something between us and our clear seeing.

Here's how I talk about it in my new book, The Inside-Out Revolution:

"You are offered a job working at a casino. In order to encourage other people to play, they will pay you $500 a night to gamble with the house's money You will be given $50,000 in chips at the start of the evening; you will turn in whatever amount of chips you have left at the end of the night and leave with your $500 in your pocket."

What would that actually be like? Chances are if you were able to quadruple your money you would be excited in the moment, but at the end of the night after turning in your chips you would forget all about it. Similarly, if you lost it all, you would likely be disappointed - until you remembered that it was all just a game and the real payoff was already in your pocket.

What would it be like to play the game of life knowing that everything that really counts - your well-being, happiness, love, and self-worth - are already yours to keep? After all, you were born with them, and the only thing that can ever take you away from them is a thought. There is nothing of true and lasting value you can get from playing the game of life that wasn't already yours before you started playing and won't continue to be yours after the game is done.

You are playing with the house's money. There is nothing real at stake. The pressure is completely off…

Are you ready to begin?

Click the link for more information about the Michael Neill and the Inside-Out Revolution


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