True Colors


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Well, at least most of you. Here’s this week’s question.

“Dear Mike, I was recently listening to a podcast and the host said something that made me think I should send in a question to Mondays with Mike. She said, ‘If you want to know what a person is really like, watch them under pressure,’ do you believe that is true?”

Huh. “If you want to know what a person’s really like, watch them under pressure, do you believe that is true?”

I believe that is true when it comes to people under pressure but I don’t always believe it’s true completely. I think the only thing you can really assume when a person’s under significant amounts of pressure is that that’s the way they respond to significant amounts of pressure. Now, I am not saying that their character might not come through or that certain idiosyncrasies of their personality may not manifest itself, but what I am saying is that there is more to a person than just what happens when they’re under pressure.

I do think people have patterns, I think they have tendencies, I think they have a tendency to be a certain way under pressure, which will tell you what you can expect from them under pressure unless they’ve developed coping skills. Just like you can’t tell about a person completely when they’re happy because we’re multi-dimensional human beings, I think the only thing you can really tell is, okay, this is the way Mike responds when he’s under pressure.

I will tell you in my own case that I tend to respond under pressure differently based on the type of pressure. If it’s financial pressure, I tend to respond very differently than if I’m under pressure for a deadline. What we’ve done over our life is we’ve developed certain coping skills, we’ve done certain things and these certain things or coping skills inform what our choices are going forward.

I don’t know why you asked the question but I would encourage you to pay attention to yourself as it relates to how you respond under pressure and I think that’ll inform you better. I think all of us respond based on patterns of learning over particular amounts of time. Pay attention to yours and determine whether or not the way you respond under pressure is functional or dysfunctional, or helpful or not helpful. Hope that’s helpful.

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