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The Power of Pressure

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The Power of Pressure

Why We Break Down and What We Can Learn from Those Who Break Through


15 min read
7 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

“No pressure, no diamonds.”

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Hot Topic


Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, a sales rep or a college student, your ability to handle pressure affects your success – or lack thereof. As Henry Kissinger said: “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did really well under pressure.” Pressure is a reality of life. You can’t avoid it, but you shouldn’t let it control or crush you. Instead, learn to understand it, so you can use it to your advantage. In The Power of Pressure, keynote speaker and CEO of Third Factor, Dane Jensen, offers up techniques to help you learn to recognize, harness and take the heat out of pressure moments.


Pressure builds up when importance, uncertainty and volume combine. These three drivers form the pressure equation.       

Pressure is part of the human experience and presents itself in various circumstances. If you’re a squadron leader in combat or a policeman delivering a baby on the roadside, your response to pressure can be a matter of life or death. Feeling queasy before delivering an important speech or taking a final exam also is a form of pressure. The difference between pressure and other emotional states is that it requires action.​​​​

Pressure and stress aren’t synonymous. A rabid sports fan may not be able to tolerate the stress of watching his or her favorite team on TV. But the actual pressure is on the players. The fan is emotionally invested in the game; the players affect the outcome. Similarly, you may be shocked and grief-stricken if you learn that a close relation has committed suicide. The pressure lies with the individual who must call that person’s loved ones and explain what happened, tactfully and empathetically.

The following drivers form the pressure equation...

About the Author

Dane Jensen is the CEO of Third Factor and an instructor at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

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