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4 Ways to Embrace Your Inner Overachiever

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4 Ways to Embrace Your Inner Overachiever

John Eliot, PhD, is one of the world’s leading authorities on peak performance. He’s also more than willing to challenge conventional wisdom on the subject. Too often, he argues, the focus is put on minimizing stress, when in many cases, learning how to thrive in the face of pressure is a far more effective and rewarding strategy.

Eliot, a professor of management and psychology and a private consultant to top-level executives, athletes, artists and corporations, offers his own alternate stress-modulating philosophies in his book Overachievement: The New Model for Exceptional Performance (Portfolio Trade, 2006). Here is some of the book’s most essential, innovative advice.

Love Your Butterflies

Relaxation techniques have their place, Eliot acknowledges, particularly when tension or overwork becomes debilitating. Central to Eliot’s philosophy, however, is the idea that, in order to succeed, we must learn to embrace and exploit the anxiety inherent in life’s biggest moments. “Great performers welcome pressure,” he writes. “Instead of trying to control or erase pressure, they use it as a kind of energy bar.”

In the heat of a nerve-wracking moment, our bodies naturally take energy away from nonessential activities and channel it to those things that the body perceives as absolutely vital. “The physical symptoms of fight-or-flight are what the human body has learned over thousands of years to operate more efficiently and at the highest level,” Eliot says.

“I cannot enhance anybody’s performance without getting them not only to live with the butterflies that come with high-pressure jobs, but to embrace that kind of physical response.” This level of resilience, says Eliot, is an important prerequisite to becoming an exceptional performer.

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Read more: Anxiety, Career, Life, Mental Wellness, Self-Help, Spirit, Stress, , , , , ,

By Brian Johnson, Experience Life

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Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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1:43AM PDT on Sep 21, 2013

One of the useful posts

2:54PM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

Nice view of the matter :)

4:38PM PDT on Oct 9, 2012


8:52AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

really whats separetes one of others is education and more or less important the ambient the society but in yourself is the key if you want believe in you is a long way to change to learn to love. -To be sure, great performers are well trained, experienced, smart and, in some cases, divinely talented- well put your neel on the floor your petition wants to be inteligence or study more and more is not bad study and praise and finally work in anithing for give support to your famili country and world... another info succesfull is a seed and make me a plant or tree 1 to 100 1000 to 1000 and 7billion in one

3:05AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012

Interesting perspective....there's a time and place for everything, however...

12:54AM PDT on Oct 9, 2012


5:18PM PDT on Oct 5, 2012


4:13PM PDT on Oct 3, 2012


6:17AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012


2:54AM PDT on Oct 3, 2012

Very interesting, thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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