12.4.16

THERE ARE SIXTEEN FOOTBALL GAMES IN A SEASON.

Getting mentally prepped to put it all on the line for three hours is work.

But business goes on in all four seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall; baseball, football, hockey, basketball; rabbit, duck, deer, bear as you will) and Stanford's Emma Seppala argues that approaching every day as if you're getting ready to kick off against the Packers is unsustainable.
Many of us have come to rely on our stress response to get things done. We fuel ourselves up with adrenaline and caffeine, over-scheduling ourselves and waiting until the very last minute to complete projects, waiting for that “fight or flight” mode to kick in and believing we need a certain amount of stress to be productive.
Whether business gets that mind-set from football, or whether football reflects the business of America, is serious work for social scientists.
Americans believe they need high-intensity emotions to succeed — especially to lead or influence. In a study we ran, for example, people wanted to feel high-intensity positive emotions like excitement when they were in a role that involved leading or trying to influence another person. This intensity is reflected in the language we use to discuss achievement goals: we get fired up, pumped, or amped up so that we can bowl people over, crush projects, or crank out presentations — these expressions all imply that we need to be in some kind of intense attack mode.  Go get it, knock it out of the park, and muscle through.
Perhaps, though, there's something to be said for pulling with an even strain.
Excitement, of course, can be a positive emotion and it certainly feels a lot better than stress. But just as a sugar high may feel great for a while, it sends your body into a physiological high that can end with a crash. You are bound to feel tired sooner than if you had remained in a calm state.
Yes, and now that I'm not battling deadlines and endless clueless electronic mails, I'm making progress on the railroad and keeping current on Cold Spring Shops posting, and perhaps jotting notes down for research projects, and not running on adrenaline all the time.

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