How Can We Be More Clutch?

How Can We Be More Clutch?

Look back on past events in your life where you were resilient, where you did succeed in high pressure and high stakes situations. What did you do then? What can you learn from it now?

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Each of us, deep in our souls, has the gift of clutch. Look no further than the last time you had a paper due in less than an hour with more than two pages to write, and you were able to finish the paper (surely with phenomenal outcomes). That's what you were in that moment: clutch. Clutch as an adjective is defined as being "dependable in critical situations."

Jeff Wise, the author of Extreme Fear , a book about performance in moments of high pressure and danger, said that "there's no question that when pressure is intense, skilled performance are able to tap abilities that are otherwise kept in reserve." I'm sure myself and many of my peers, with final exams and papers on the near horizon, would like to tap into our deep-seated reserves of clutch to lift our grades.

Some believe that the idea of being clutch is a myth, that it is just a statistical anomaly that perhaps we notice it more when people succeed seemingly impossibly in high-pressure situations. According to Wise, to some extent, clutch is a myth - but it is only a myth for those that are not experts in their fields. Professional athletes are the best of the best in their respective sports, and in that context, clutch is not a myth. The truth behind clutch performances is that those we see as "clutch performers" have " a rich store of past experience, organized into a deep intuitive understanding.'

In Dr. Mark Otten's sports psychology lab, the researchers concluded that we can all be clutch, "provided [we're] in the right mental state." Those in high-pressure situations need to feel like they're in control, as those who felt like they were in control were the most likely to succeed under pressure. Obviously, confidence also helps. So those who feel confident and in control are the most likely to succeed in clutch situations.

I do not, however, find the psychological explanations of clutch performance satisfying. To me, clutch performance is not just a psychological phenomenon, but an art, and to me, an art is something that can never be adequately explained, but instead interpreted. There is no one-size-fit-all explanation, and so I will interpret the two most clutch plays in my favorite professional sport, the NBA. Both these plays took place in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.

The two plays are as follows: Lebron James's game-saving block on Andre Iguodala's open layup out of nowhere, and Kyrie Irving's game-winning three pointer.

One thing is clear: the last two minutes of the game were absolute chaos. By this point in the series, both teams had been worn out and absolutely exhausted. The plays were nothing short of miraculous, as Lebron James was located at half-court while Iguodala was at the free throw line, and Irving's shot was heavily contested. When the stakes were highest, the two players succeeded and thrived. While neither team had scored in more than five minutes, the two players pulled through and won a championship for their team, on the road.

Clutch, for the, constituted not cracking under pressure, but thriving under it. The two of them have faces of laser focus indicating their confidence and sense of control in their situations. That is clutch. The game comes naturally to them, and it seems like they stop thinking as hard and just let it come. The two players slow down, and don't freak out. However, I don't know what is actually going on. in their heads. I am merely speculating, and I will never know unless I'm able to sit down and talk to Kyrie and LeBron one day.

I want to take a lesson from LeBron and Kyrie, too, and learn how I can become more clutch in a phase of high-pressure exams and papers. I want to be more clutch in job interviews, in times I'm usually afflicted with overwhelming anxiety, or in social situations that are incredibly awkward.

So to be clutch in our own lives, the formula in high-pressure seems to be this: feel more confident and in control. Slow down and let things come naturally. I have been able to reach these phases using a mantra that taught me to allow life to come naturally: "no surge." I am not saying the formula or even the mantra works for everyone, but it is a mantra that has worked for me given its emotional and historical significance in my life.

Approaching finals, deadlines at work, or difficult life events, find what works for you. Find out how to be clutch your own way, which is much easier said than done, but I don't need to be telling you how to do things you know best yourself. Look back on past events in your life where you were resilient, where you did succeed in high pressure and high stakes situations. What did you do then? What can you learn from it now?

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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6 Types Of People You Will Meet While Working In Retail

What a predictable bunch.

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After working for two big-box retailers for a total of two years, I suggest that everyone attempt it at least once. If not for the work experience, then for the networking between fellow employees. You could learn a thing or two about anger management or bond with someone over your dislike of a certain coworker.

Regardless of the retailer, most of the employees fit into the six categories listed below.

1. The Party Girl

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She'll be walking into work at eight o'clock with her thick rim sunglasses, carrying her venti iced latte in one hand and her iPhone in the other. As soon as you greet her, she'll begin to tell you how hungover she is and how she only got four hours of sleep. You'll ask her what happened and she'll give you a play-by-play of how the entire night went down. Mouth wide open and dirty details spilling out, you'll sit there having a full conversation in front of customers. She'll finish her dialogue with a snap back to reality and request for advice. She'll never listen, no matter how hard you try.

2. The Player

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He walks down the main aisle like he owns the place and doesn't look in your direction unless ordered to by an authority figure. He puts a pen on top of his ear like an accessory and never once uses it to write. He talks using minimal words in an attempt to sound mysterious but sounds unintelligent instead. You'll get his attention by correcting him when he's wrong. He'll try to get your number, but you'll politely decline because you know he's already talking to two of your coworkers.

3. The Druggies

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They're spread throughout the store, treading quietly, hoping no one notices when they sneak to the employee bathroom to vape. They don't meet their job requirements, yet never get called out. They're constantly on the prowl for new customers. They'll tell you in great detail about each and every one of their drug-related experiences. You'll ask them if they've considered quitting, but they're already too addicted.

4. The Nuisance

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She acts as though she's your supervisor, yet holds the exact same position you do. She's quick to point out your mistakes on the job while continuing to ignore her own. She'll leave early on a weekly basis because she's not feeling well. She'll disappear for hours and come back just as you've been asked to finish her job. You'll confront her about not cooperating with the team and she'll go straight to your supervisor to complain about you.

5. The Snitch

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She'll get on your good side and act like your friend. You'll take breaks together, complete tasks together, and even hang out after work a of couple times. She'll tell you everything she dislikes about a certain coworker. You'll do the same because you thought you could trust her. Turns out, you can't. Every little piece of information you told her ends up circulating throughout the store.

6. The Best Friend

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She'll be one of the first people you meet during your training. She'll be the one you can relate to on all things happening in your life. She'll be the one you can trust with work and personal secrets alike. She'll be the only one supporting you when work brings you down. You'll become best friends in a matter of months, bonding over work trauma and coffee therapy.

Working retail can be stressful and your coworkers can make or break your motivation to be present. Whether they're in or out of your personal life, they contribute to stories that you can tell for years to come.

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