Calm under fire…mostly

All humans overestimate their ability – depending on the study, between 65 and 80% believe they are above average drivers.”
Richard L. Peterson
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I loved playing sport when I was growing up. Still do. I believe that it has made me better at making decisions under pressure. As an interesting side note, it has also seemed apparent that most of my colleagues who excelled under pressure have also had sporting backgrounds.

Sport also made me realise that despite being very competitive, a loss was not always a failure. I tended to play best against those who were better than me.

lt seems like OSS projects are always encased in a variety of pressures, so the ability to make good decisions despite that pressure is an important skill to have.

I think I handle most pressure well (although acknowledging the “better-than-average-effect” above 🙂 ), deadlines, presentations, demonstrations, quality checks, etc but there’s one area where I fail miserably. I’m sure that my intelligence drops by about half in the very rare situations where there is personal conflict. Does this strike a chord with you too?

I’ve also noticed that the people most likely to escalate the personal conflict in tough situations are the ones that are least able to cope with inferred pressure. There’s a real “get it off me” aura that surrounds them.

Knowing this helps to get a few percent of my lost intelligence back.

But the main message in today’s blog is the need for the whole team to de-personalise tough situations if they want decisions made with 100% intelligence (despite what it may sometimes seem).

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