What is pressure? The dictionary offers a variety of definitions that you can explore if you desire. Even though pressure is a part of life and business, there is some degree of discomfort associated with the process. The distress or awkwardness indicates a clash of sorts. Maybe there’s a clash between what we actually are thinking and feeling and what we want to think and feel. Or maybe the clash is between how we’re behaving and how we would like to behave. The latter from either of these aspects can be self-imposed or from perceptions or beliefs of others. On the other hand, what they have in common is a discrepancy from a current state of “what is” and a state of something other than “what is.”
This area of discrepancy results in a disconnect which is caused from a gap in skills in a particular moment or arena and the necessary skills to function otherwise. This is an example of a RESULT. A result that is often overlooked in one’s day-to-day operation, possibly even dismissed as irrelevant, due to its invisible nature. Blame occurs when the correlation between results experienced and the choices made are missed.
Blame creates negative pressure in one’s ability to function. To overcome blame one must become accountable. Great, how does one do that? Change! And how does one do that? Subject yourself to positive pressure. Huh?
That is part of the paradox with pressure. There are times pressure is beneficial and times when it is detrimental. Negative pressure occurs when we are misaligned, off track from our goals, settle for less than what we’re capable of, or are challenged to accept “what is.” Positive pressure on the other hand; though uncomfortable along the journey as well; is when we’re aligned with who we are, on track with our goals, do our best and make peace (very different than liking) “what is;” which leads to greater effectiveness and functioning from a higher consciousness. The focus here will be moving through pressure that is valuable.
An example most people have heard, is how diamonds are formed by exerting pressure on a clump of coal. Of course, if you are the clump of coal you may question if the pressure really is beneficial. To play a musical instrument, there is tension in some capacity applied, such as to guitar strings, piano keys or air resistance with flutes, saxophone etc. However, without the appropriate tension the notes are off key. When played by a skilled musician, in a genre preferred by you, music is enjoyed. The pieces of coal or instruments are unable to talk as we do or we just might hear what we sound like!
Let’s look at positive pressure in regards to changing outcomes that are unappealing. Our feelings are our indicators to our thoughts and lead to our words and actions. When how you feel is appealing to you, great! When, however, you prefer to feel other than your current state, the thoughts you are thinking need replacing, so choose other thoughts. You’ll know you are succeeding when you start to feel differently which eventually leads to different word and action choices.
You may be thinking easier said than done. Take a moment and reflect on a scene, a type of food or a person you dislike. Notice how you feel. Now recall a scene, a type of food or a person you really like and again notice how you feel. By the way, are you aware you shifted a thought? How did you do it? The point is, as humans we often complicate things or make excuses for how we perform in one aspect of our day-to-day functioning, all the while incorporating the very thing we need to do in other areas.
When you feel other than you desire it is unimportant what the thought is or for you to identify what the disruptive thought is; in fact if you attempt to identify it you will put attention to the very aspect that needs changing, hence negative pressure. Instead, concentrate your efforts on how you prefer to feel and what you’d have to think to create that feeling. This is like the movement of an inchworm. Keep the focus on how you want to feel and take a step in that direction with your thinking. The tendency for most is to revert back to the current state of what is disliked by replaying mentally and or talking about the dissatisfaction.
This practice is like a ping pong ball back and forth until you master the process. One of the challenges can be the intangible, non-tactile nature of the practice. When applied with persistence, however, transformation occurs. Consider the alternative, bailing out, which leads to living with discomfort, negative pressure and outcomes counter to what you claim to want.
To successfully change your thoughts, you MUST . . .
1. Sincerely want a new outcome
2. Be willing and do what it takes to create the new outcome
3. Practice and persist
. . . then YOU reap the reward!
Ironic how we’ll apply step 3 in areas that are detrimental to us; such as continuing with “bad” habits, berating ourselves, complaining, talking about people, situations or things we dislike, or harboring resentments. Changing thoughts requires us to let go of what harms us and instead commit to what serves us well.
When holding on to ways producing damaging aspects we experience negative pressure. When we choose to embark on a learning process and skill development to improve, we undergo the impact of positive pressure.
The latter seems to take longer and feels like harder work, partly because many of us have honed the former. Which is really harder? Simply decide, are you fulfilled as the clump of coal or prefer to be a diamond. Neither is right or wrong, your feelings about it will let you know which is aligned for you. Remember pressure is part of life and business. What outcomes are you creating based on the kind of pressure you subject yourself to?