Most people exercise their daily lives in much the same way they’ve done in years past. Most people have a job that’s at least somewhat similar to what they’ve had in recent years or months. They don’t have drastic changes in their lives, and if they do, they’re mostly logistical: a move to a new city, an office move, or a move to a new company into a position which has been similar to ones in which they’ve been before. And when one moves to a new company, it means that their hierarchical position is much the same as it was before. No one moves from a lowly desk clerk to CEO. And so not many people see or feel the changes that can occur in themselves, when others’ expectations of their actions are suddenly different.
Imagine war. Some readers, unfortunately, may not have to imagine it. But two generations ago, the vast majority of the population was directly or indirectly involved. They had no choice but to do things unimaginable by our current citizens. And yet how different were those humans physiologically from us today? I can’t imagine genes changing all that much in 80 years.
It’s like the Greek myth of the general who burnt his ships upon arriving at the shores of his battle. He wanted his soldiers to win knowing they’d fight all the harder with no choice of retreat.
I’m always impressed by how differently we can act when we have no other choice. Other people’s expectations of us in these situations are the same thing. The things we’ll do, the trauma we’ll endure or the confidence we suddenly pull out of nowhere are all amazing. So put yourself in situations that scare the shit out of you… I think you’ll be surprised how well you do, when failure isn’t an option and everyone is expecting the best from you.