I have 25 weeks left to complete the first season of Threshold, and I’m thinking about my relationship with pressure. The pressure I put on myself to get things done, and done well.
It took me a long time to become aware that I tend toward the high-pressure end of the spectrum. Even into my early 20s, I thought everyone tried as hard as they could, all of the time, on everything, no matter how insignificant the task.
It turns out not everyone does, which is a very good thing. In addition to being annoying, working this way is not very efficient. A therapist explained it in terms of combustion engines: if you’re making an engine work as hard as it can, all the time, you’re going to waste a bunch of fuel and quickly wear down the parts. Applying less force can actually get you farther down the road faster in the long run.
Sometimes pressure is very useful. Essential, even. Creating takes intensity, force, fire. So although I don’t want to rev my engine higher than needed, I also don’t want to putter along, never feeling the heat. I want to Goldilocks it: to find the “just right” amount of pressure to apply at strategic times. Not too much, not too little.
Even as I write that, though, I can hear a little internal growl. Pressure is part of creating, and as such, it resists control. Maybe it needs to be messy, and to make me a bit of a mess, in order to be what it is, and do the work it needs to do.
How do I let the reins out enough for pressure to play its part, but not so much that it wastes a bunch of my energy?