Besides his extraordinary skills and daunting work ethic, Michael Jordan forged a reputation as the most competitive player in the National Basketball Association. When the spotlight was brightest, Jordan was at his best, leading the Chicago Bulls to six world championships. How do athletes like Jordan thrive under pressure while others wilt? Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s intriguing book examines the various factors that separate winners from losers, and shows how physiology, psychology and social conditioning all influence people’s competitive nature. getAbstract believes readers will learn a great deal about victory and defeat, and will gain valuable insights into their own competitive makeup. The authors’ conclusions will be of special interest to entrepreneurs.
Feeling the Pressure
Performers typically devote countless hours to practicing and perfecting their crafts. Yet their success does not depend on preparation, but on how they react to pressure. A study held at a German ballroom dance competition revealed through chemical analysis of saliva samples that even expert, experienced dancers reacted intensely to stress. In fact, in an unrelated experiment involving first-time skydivers, saliva samples indicated that the parachutists felt less anxiety than the dancers, even though the skydivers were at risk physically. The major difference between the groups was the element of competition – the dancers were being judged; the skydivers were not. Performing in the spotlight is much more challenging than practicing. Success is determined not only by your skill, but by your ability to overcome fear and handle pressure.
Competition drives society; it fosters innovation and powers financial markets. Ideally, healthy competition teaches sportsmanship, morality and respect. Some view competition negatively, believing it produces antisocial behavior, but opponents usually recognize the rules that regulate competition and understand ...
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, co-authors of the best-selling NurtureShock, have won nine national awards for their reporting.