Performing well under pressure is something that all of us want to do. When I was in college I was playing in the semi-finals of a badminton tournament. I had only scored 1 point and was 1 point from elimination. Incredibly, I scored 20 straight points to win and then proceeded to beat the number one ranked contestant in the finals. How did I do that? Well, first I believed in myself. I knew that I could succeed if I did not give up. I also did not focus on the end but, instead, I set short-term goals for myself. I focused on one point at a time. I knew that I had to eliminate unforced errors. I also knew that I had no control over what my opponent was thinking, but I did have control of what I was thinking. There were a lot of fans watching the event. I made a conscious effort not to worry about them but rather focus on the task at hand. In the minutes that followed, I gradually began closing in on my opponent. Soon I was defeating him, but I did not change my frame of mind. I remained focused and determined to win one point at a time.

As time progressed, I saw victory in sight. Incredibly, I won the match. This is one of many experiences I have had in my lifetime, which fuels the advice I give to parents and their children. To succeed you need to convince yourself that success is attainable. You also need to remain focused at all times. If initially you are not successful, you need to persevere. If it is a test you are taking, you need to be aware that all of the studying or practicing you do will improve your chances for triumph. You also need to ignore anything that may distract you. Although there may be competitors in the room, you need to realize that you can only control your performance. Never convince yourself that something is impossible. Compete for the right reasons. If you compete for the fun of it and are willing to do your best, you will be successful regardless of the outcome. Winning first place or a championship should not be the ultimate goal. Keep in mind that only one individual or one team will prevail. The rest should not be viewed as being losers. If you compete for the right reasons, you will always be a champion. Those who believe in having fun and doing their best will find that pressure is diminished or eliminated.

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