the pressure of importance pt 5
Physics is the science of matter, Everything is made of matter, including us.
All matter has the capacity to move. Motion involves energy: an invisible force. In physics, pressure can be thought of as the concentration of a force on an area (pressure = force ÷ area).
For example, if you use energy to press (apply pressure) to a drawing pin (matter) into a cork board, the pin point end pierces the cork board (area) and stays embedded in the cork board.
This is because the same force is concentrated onto a smaller area at the pin end which creates enough pressure for the sharp point of the pin to pierce and embed into the cork board.
If the point is blunt, more force is needed. A blunt point could mean the situation or task is unfamiliar, complicated and more challenging for you.
Piercing the corkboard, so the pin remains in place is "pressure outcome" or task completion.
Think of force as raw energy, propelling the pin into the board. Once achieved, energy is switched off and the pressure eases off. Too little force and the pin will not penetrate the board (task failure) too much force and the board or pin will break (task failure). The same can happen when you experience pressure.
Controlling pressure to the right level helps you achieve your task.
The strength of pressure you feel depends on a number of factors that come from within you : your personality, your values and all the bits that makes you unique.
Let us take a look at one building blocks of pressure. Pressure is not black and white or static. We experience shades of gray, pressure is dynamic.
How important this task is for you, will affect the strength of pressure you feel inside
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How often does things in your life depend on available time ? We lead busy lives. Our time calendar is bursting with prearranged dates and start time points.
The pressure of time is constantly with us, but it varies. Time pressure is how rushed or pressed for time we feel on a daily basis. You feel "time pressure" when you have sufficient time to do what you need to because it is expected of you by other people or want to do if the expectation is coming from yourself: such as time for work, family, leisure, travel, study or exercise.
Time pressure builds inside you when you have less time available than is necessary to complete a task or obtain a result. It intensifies further when you are late for a work meeting or for a theatre or music performance start time.
The effects of chronic time pressure (time shortage and feelings of being rushed) are felt by all of us.
The hastening pace of life, the need to multitask, and the necessity to perform tasks faster. Do you experience the accelerated pacing of time which then limits selecting one thing over another ?
Modern life is time limiting for all of us: a general absence of free time. How much "me time" do you have every day ?
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Time "pressure deepening" involves adopting personal strategies, such as tight scheduling, speeding up activities such as fast food meals, performing efficiently a number of tasks at the same time and choosing to enjoy fast paced leisure activities.
This is especially true when you are unable to detach or "switch off" from work. The experience of persistent time pressure is associated with poorer health and reduced quality of life.
Positive ways of coping can be creating 'hot spots' for work, which free up time for 'cold spots' of slow time allotted to family and personal leisure.
Time pressure can facilitate positive ways of working together. You are more likely at work to reach decisions faster, when working cooperatively as a team. So time pressure can be either motivating, or something you feel you have to endure.
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We all differ on what is important to us in our lives.
Some things are common to all of us such as the family, friends, money, your health and work.
For something to be important, it has to affect your life. If something doesn't affect your life, it's hard to call it important. When a task which is important to you, pressure builds. It can be important because you really want to do this, the reward is significant or it just gives you much pleasure and life satisfaction.
However, pressure is minimal, if the task or problem is not that important to you. "I don't care", "so what" if I do not do this.
The more important the task is for you, the greater the pressure you will feel. If it is extremely important, pressure peaks."I must successfully compete this task" or "I have to solve the problem right now".
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Think about how important is your family. What about your health ? How important is your line manager?
Probably very important, now compare this with the importance of your child ?
We all highly our purpose in life, preciousness of time, our health, and our relationships.
We do differ on what we feel is important. For example, some people need to be loved, respected or admired whilst others are not bothered or that interested.
How important it is to you will depend on a mixture of how you feel inside you and the external expectations of other people. Sometimes, this can get confused.
The pressure is higher if the task is important to you, such as fixing a simple gas boiler problem or cooker issue but can go even more intense if failure to arrive at the solution is also important (no heating or hot food).
Time pressure is ever present. It is dynamic depending on your lifestyle. Time pressure builds inside you when you have less time available than is necessary to complete a task.This can be either motivating, or something you feel you have to endure.
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Imagine you are piloting a helicopter over a city. The fuel gauge pings red alert. You suddenly realise that you are out of fuel and about to drop from the sky. The pressure of importance is at its maximum. You know that the crash will can result in deaths of many innocent people including children. You remain calm and hyper-focussed.
As the helicopter falls out of the sky, you use the helicopter controls to minimise the speed of descent and steer the helicopter away from buildings and crash. This form of pressure saves lives.
The pressure of importance turns into stress when you want something happening to you which is emotionally very important in your life. In reality, you cannot control it but it is so important you cannot accept this thinking "so what" is impossible.
For example, your partner says they do not love you anymore and is leaving or your company is restructuring, in reaction to business events out of their control and you are faced with the prospect of redundancy. The pressure of importance can change to stress, if you try by all means, to save your marriage or job believing you can manage and control the situation, avoiding losing something very precious in your life.
Next time, I will examine how other people important in your life, can exert pressure on you as well as another building block of pressure: "feeling responsible". What if you survived the helicopter crash, some people were killed, how responsible would you feel