Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Some People Perform and Some Don't When They're in the Clutch

At this time of the year, many of our students are under severe pressure to perform. They have to draft a document, perform a service for a clinic client, or get ready for an exam.

At the Harvard Business Review online, Paul Sullivan offers his results from a study of the military, business executives, and  athletes on who performs in the clutch and who does not:

"In a previous post, I discussed the five traits of people who excel under pressure: focus, discipline, adaptability, being present and a combination of fear and desire. But just as important is the ability to understand and eschew the qualities that cause people to choke in the same circumstances. My research into military leaders, business executives, and athletes indicates that there are three common problems: a failure to accept responsibility, overconfidence and overthinking."

I think this diagnosis applies to law students. Perhaps if we gently guide our hassled students to understand what holds them back from a successful performance, we may help them when they find themselves in future clutches.



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