Pressure and Challenge: What’s the Difference?

Deadlines can be really irritating.

But then other times, they’ll be the only things that keep the entire operation moving.

Some people can manage work under pressure, maybe even do better, and then there are others who don’t handle it quite as well. I personally am one of those people who can live with it, maybe even produce something great out of it… but I don’t like it.

I do know a couple people who somehow enjoy being put under pressure. Now, this sounds weird, but they take it as a challenge, not as high expectations being laid out. I like good challenge, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like there is a substantial difference between challenges and pressure. To me, challenges mean pushing yourself, and maybe asking for the aid or opinions of others along the way. Pressure, on the other hand, doesn’t always provide a choice. When standards are set high by other people, especially people that are close to you, the difficulty raises to another level. Because under pressure, you’re not always performing for yourself. A lot of the times, it’s just for the expecting crowd.

Back to deadlines. The reason I’m bringing up this topic is because I’ve been put under lots of them lately. There’s that film festival entry due this friday, that art contest entry due next week, and also those other four- no, five- projects I’m working on for other people. That plus the regular homework load I get from school scares me just a little bit, because if I miss out on any one of those things, I’ll feel like I’ve lost a battle. Even if I manage to finish every single project except just one, I’ll feel guilty. Like I’ve disappointed not only myself, but other people who were looking forward to seeing that project complete. And that makes me sad.

I missed a deadline for a fairly recent contest because I couldn’t get an idea for it. And of course, right after that deadline passed, I found my idea. I’m going to write it anyways, because 1) why would I let a good idea go to waste and 2) maybe there’ll be another opportunity where I can enter that idea, who knows. Just because I missed one deadline doesn’t mean I should feel so bad that I won’t pick myself back up again to chase down another chance to do something great.

I think that managing deadlines is an incredibly important skills, because it seems to me that life is all about them. Miss a deadline here, your grade drops. Miss a deadline there, you lose your job. And with all these different deadlines in all these different areas, there are so many opportunities that could be missed. Yeah, it’s tough. But you also have to know how to bounce back from that missed opportunity and make something good out of it, because if you’re just stuck there in that little vacuum of momentary failure, you won’t get any wins out of it. And getting a win was the objective from the very beginning… right?

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