The way I see it, pressure in life can be a problem. We are all under so much pressure to perform, to be perfect—or at least to pretend we are. That pressure has to come out somewhere. It comes out in anger or other behaviors.
How do we de-fuse the ticking time bombs that comes with pressure?
I have an idea.
He spoke publicly of how blessed he feels just being able to play the game of golf and of his love of the game, win or lose. Watching him play I thought I’d never seen him so relaxed. He wasn’t obsessed with hitting every ball perfectly. He seemed to see himself as human.
Years ago, Tiger’s career faltered, not just because of medical issues, but also through some of the bad behavior that takes down so many talented athletes. But now he seems to be someone who appreciates the journey, both the good and the bad, and is still standing, still swinging, still surviving one day at a time.
Tiger was the humblest I have ever seen him, even knowing the entire world has seen his dirty laundry. Maybe accepting his humanness has helped to relieve the pressure.
Could humility be the answer to all of this insane pressure that we are feeling?
To be clear, not all pressure is bad. We need motivation to do our best. How do we tell the difference between good pressure and bad pressure?
So, here is my idea: unhealthy pressure is derived from pride; healthy pressure is derived from humility.
Pride motivates people to say things like “I must do this because no one else is qualified,” and “Team? What team, we are all individuals, dog eat dog.” If you believe this is who you are and who you are supposed to be, there is no way you can measure up. There is no way you can ask for help, either.
Humility motivates people to say things like “I was blessed with this skill and I am going to give it my all to honor those important to me.”
You know you are human, so the occasional mistake won’t make you feel like a failure. You can ask for help when you need it, and you have the support of your friends, family, and teammates.
If everything seems to be getting too much for you, maybe you’ve lost touch with your humility? Let go of your pride, accept your limitations, and ask for help. Humble people make better leaders and more effective team members, anyway.
And if you see someone else who seems to be carrying the whole world on their shoulders—even if they look like they’ve got it all together (for now), be someone they can be humble around, someone they know will be supportive when they need it. Don’t pile the unhealthy pressure on others.
My plea today is for us all to listen more deeply to people around us. We all matter. If we change the culture of pride and pressure, maybe we’ll all be happier. Start with yourself and those around you.