Under duress

Under duress, we do not rise to our expectations – we fall to the level of our training. ~ Bruce Lee

Few of us would argue with the assertion that practice is essential, especially as preparation for a stressful situation. We train for public events—a speech, a performance, a competition. Firemen practice drills. Police shoot at firing ranges. So when the time comes, we are prepared. So when we are under duress, the practice, the training will kick in and we perform automatically. In essence, we fall to the level of our training.

What got me was the first part of the quote. We all like to think that we would rise to the occasion. In stressful situations, we would perform admirably. But I do not argue with Bruce Lee’s point. I may not perform admirably. I haven’t always performed admirably. Which makes practice—practice for whatever, whether is it visualizing scoring free throws or rehearsing a difficult conversation with a coworker (or a conversation with a different coworker)—essential.



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