In Tense Situations, Some Play Even Better, Some Even Worse

My brother (the non-blogger) once told me that there’s science that says in tense, high stakes situations some people perform even better and some perform even worse, not much middle ground. I’ve always liked to think that I’m the kind of person who performs even better when the stakes are higher.

Tonight at a basketball game in east Oakland with 20 seconds to go we were up by 3 points. I inbounded the ball, called for it right back, got fouled, and knocked down two charity tosses to make it a two possession game. A lot of this has to do with a mindset.

I distinctly recall my first sales pitch to a big group of people. I was like 13, standing in my suit in a cold parking lot outside of a City Hall. My teeth were chattering and muscles shaking. I could hardly speak without stuttering over my words because of nervousness. I don’t remember a thing from the pitch (other then when I described the mySQL database powering the software as "robust" – what a weird thing to remember) but I’m told I did a good job. And we had a client to prove it.

In the closing seconds of the game, do you want the ball?

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