I thrive under pressure and in stressful situations.
Calm, placid surroundings are not my cup of tea: I prefer covering a large protest as a reporter, or contributing reports from a warzone.
Here are the top traits of people like me who thrive in situations that many others find traumatizing.
1) Curiosity to try new things
Curiosity is always the start of it all.
If you’re not curious then you don’t take the first step to finding out.
Those who thrive under stress have a burning curiosity inside and a reason for tolerating or taking advantage of a tough situation.
They want to challenge themselves and find out something new.
They want a change of sight and scene and a way to test what they’re really made of in the heat of the moment.
We’re all born with different mindsets, talents and interests, but the curious individual is one who is willing to step forward.
He or she thrives under pressure because they are drawn to situations that are unusual, demanding and high-octane.
They’d rather be a marathon runner than work in a shoe store, and they’d rather start a new company than just work in one somebody else started.
2) Courage under pressure
When stress hits you can run away or stand your ground.
Those who adapt under stress and make something useful out of it have courage under pressure.
They slow down and focus on what’s in their control.
Taking a deeper dive, what’s the core here that makes them thrive?
It’s the element of necessity.
When you’re under stress and pressure everything becomes simpler.
You have a clear mission: survive and find a way to succeed.
And that simplicity can be very clarifying for a certain kind of person.
3) Boredom about life as usual
Those who are adventurous, entrepreneurs, danger seekers and thrive under stress are not necessarily ideal people.
But then again it takes all kinds to make the world go around.
Those who thrive under stress tend to be a little impatient.
They don’t find “regular” life all that fulfilling or interesting.
I know that for me one of my worst nightmares is to live in a perfectly secure suburb with endless rows of similar modern houses.
I’d rather be in a protest with buildings burning down and tear gas flying.
I don’t mind a routine, but I find a day to day grind without a larger purpose completely stultifying and horribly depressing.
Part of what helped me realize what I want in life was doing the reset your life compass challenge.
Hosted by successful life coach Jeanette Brown, the reset your life compass challenge is a great way to rethink what you want to do with your life and why.
4) Knowing who to trust
Stress is best when you’re part of a team.
Suffering alone can be very horrible, but when your suffering is shared it’s a very different situation.
Some of my best experiences came from working low-paid night shifts at an auto factory in my 20s.
The friendships I made with my fellow workers were priceless. We had to lean on each other and develop a really hilarious gallows humor to survive such a soulless and demanding job.
It was great.
I knew I could trust those folks because they were in the same boat as me.
The stress made me thrive, because there was no choice in it:
I couldn’t find a better job at that time, so it was either do the work until the loud angry buzzer sounds or leave and have no money.
Time to get ‘er done!
5) Top communication skills
When you’re under pressure what do you need most of all?
An iron will and a lot of determination, true.
But you also need to be able to communicate.
You need to rally the troops and hear the instructions being given or what’s being said.
But you also need to be able to communicate with yourself and hear through all the noise.
Being in a busy restaurant kitchen at the dinner rush can be a kind of warzone.
Those chefs shout pretty loudly, believe me, but they always find a way to be understood and communicate with the least words possible.
6) An ability to actively listen
Part of that ability to communicate actively is the ability to actively listen.
This means not only hearing the words being said, but also the reason they’re being said.
It’s hearing behind the words themselves to the deeper motive.
What does this person want from you and why are they speaking a certain way or emphasizing or leaving out certain things?
You may not be sure why, but you can always ask.
It greatly increases the survival rate, believe me.
7) Being highly perceptive
In addition to listening actively, the person who thrives under stress is also highly perceptive.
He or she sees details that others miss.
This includes a highly-tuned intuition about who is trustworthy and who’s not, about what type of situation could have hidden dangers or is no worries.
You can’t thrive under pressure if you’re completely blindsided with it.
That’s the thing about those who thrive:
They don’t get lost in the stress, they find themselves in it.
8) Empathy for those around them
Empathy is a core component of everyone who thrives under stress.
If you don’t understand where other people are coming from, you’re never going to be a useful or competent partner for them under stress.
If you’re navigating high-pressure and difficult situations, you need to have empathy, it’s that simple.
The one exception, quite frankly, is empathy for those who are apathetic or don’t care.
If you’re at the scene of an accident, you’re going to respect everybody who’s trying to tell traffic to move and make sure you know what happened as you rescue victims.
But it’s mighty hard to have any empathy for the gawkers and the idiots live streaming to TikTok or Instagram and standing around.
They’re useless and they’re just making it harder to respond to the crisis.
9) Gaining compassion from suffering
In addition to that empathy, there comes a lot of compassion.
Those who thrive under stress often find themselves taking a renewed sense of humanity and compassion out of their experiences.
When you see people stripped down to their rawest essence under pressure, you see who they really are.
Folks you may have imagined would be responsible and caring turn tail and running away.
Quiet and unassuming people you never noticed take the lead, navigating the stress and making things better for everyone.
When you thrive under stress it means you’re the kind of person who sees just how vulnerable we all are and gain some new respectful compassion and strength from that.
You gain compassion for those caught up in stress and pressure and gain new appreciation for those who rise to the challenge.
This brings up the next point…
10) Getting tougher from the hard times
When you thrive in hard times it’s because they somehow bring out your best.
Whereas others flourish when there’s freedom, relaxation and calm, you flourish when the heat is on and when there’s a mess of confusion and chaos.
You need that high-octane environment in order to tap into your inner warrior and really reach your full potential.
You get tougher from the hard times.
You find that you’re able to withstand more pain and find more peace and determination even in the hardest of times.
At the same time as you gain more compassion for others, you also get a thicker skin and the ability to withstand more hits without collapsing on the mat.
If the struggle brings you joy, then you’re one of those who thrive in stressful situations.
11) Impulsiveness and sometimes recklessness
People who thrive in stressful situations have some downsides.
These are often the qualities of being a bit impulsive and reckless.
That is sometimes the reason they end up in a bit of a bind in the first place.
In fact there are even those who get a bit addicted to the drama and seek out drama and stress because they find normal life boring.
Being addicted to the danger can become a liability and even cause others to worry about you and your safety when you don’t take care of yourself enough.
The heat is on
When the heat is on, what do you do?
If you find that the above qualities speak to you, there’s a good chance that you thrive.
The pressure and the pandemonium don’t get to you the way they do to other folks.
In fact, such situations tend to bring out your best.