I wanted to share with you something I experienced during the last two weeks. I had to go to a job interview and to do two oral presentations. I must admit that I'm really bad at both. Unexpectedly though I did quite well at all of them.
I realized that what was giving me some stress before oral presentation and the interview. Of course, I was always prepared for them but there was always something missing that kept me from performing at the level I wanted to perform. I realized that stress what keeping me away from doing that. So I asked myself why I was so stressed. I suddenly realized that I was afraid of failing that's why I was always stressed. So I started asking myself why I was so scared of missing the mark. I realized that all that stress wasn't really related to my performance that I thought I could do or that I was actually delivering. All the trouble I was encountering was because of my cognitive pattern of how I thought I was suppose to an oral presentation. I was afraid of failing because I was focusing much more on the result rather than on the process.
So here's what I did. I started to believe that I COULD NOT fail and even if I was delivering a speech a little less good than I expected, it wouldn't matter. So that's what I did I convinced myself before the interview (which was the first of the three problematic event), surprisingly all the stress went away. I was focusing on the job at hand and I even made the interviewer laugh with a clever comment. I convinced myself so profoundly that I couldn't fail that I did super well at the job interview and did both oral presentation without stress. It was great!
So I think that stress is just due to being scared of failure. Once you can convince yourself that you can't fail and you stop focusing so much on result rather than on the process you are much more happy and you perform at a higher level. Also experiencing self confidence doesn't hurt at all.
p.s. I must admit that I got a little help into thinking like this. I highly suggest that you watch the following video on happiness from TED. The process into thinking like the speaker's ideology was kinda there in my mind but I couldn't explain it as clearly as he did. Once I saw his video, it all came together and I got an illumination. It's a bit related to Vroom's motivation theory on expectations..
Srikumar Rao: Plug into your hard-wired happiness | Video on TED.com