Once, I played a football game, and one player in the opposite team made a remark – “when trying to score a penalty kick, some players hit the ball hard and try very hard to score. A much better strategy is to be relaxed, to focus on aiming well, not hitting the ball hard, you have a better success rate”.
I think he was right.
Once, I was in a theater play. I had just 3 lines to remember. But prior to entering the stage, I focused on helping some colleagues do some things, and when I entered the stage I wasn’t prepared. While I knew the lines by heart, the sudden change in the scenery (focus on solving an issue vs. focus on the audience) scared me, and I didn’t say the 3 lines correctly.
Sure, you can even be too little stressed. There is a level of stress which is necessary. You can’t say silly things, do irrelevant things, and only focus on laughing and expect success.
Some people prepare a presentation, put a lot of effort into writing things down on the presentation, read it word by word, and although they spent a great amount of time in preparation, the audience isn’t focused.
Other people write just the main ideas on the slides, use huge photos and large photos, and speak most of the presentation about the title of the slides. Sure, some things are rehearsed, but it’s not like they remember the whole presentation by heart. And the audience pays more attention to the presentation, despite being less prepared.
Stress is a good thing. Don’t overdo it, though, and also don’t have too little of it. Find the sweet spot.
You need stress to keep things focused. But you need to find the right amount. Laugh a little, put some pressure. The middle path is the best.
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