Over the past 35 years, I have worked with many high-achieving professionals – athletes, actors, dancers, speakers, and business leaders in a variety of fields. One of the common denominators that is true across the board, is as soon as we raise the stakes of the game and more is demanded of us, new skills and new perspectives are required.

It’s interesting to note that emotions are processed in the brain as predictions based on our past history. In other words, if we had a bad experience at an earlier time in our lives, our brain remembers that experience and expects the same result in the future. This is why telling ourselves to “just get over it,” doesn’t always work.

At the time of this writing, the Winter Olympics are just ending. What can we learn from these athletes about performing under pressure? A number of them have come back from heartbreaking defeats and devastating injuries. How do they work with their minds to overrule the brain’s natural tendency to avoid pain and danger?

There are many factors that go into that answer, but again, to play at a very high level, new skills and perspectives are required. We can summarize the needed qualities in one word: “Resiliency.” Some people are more naturally resilient than others. But resiliency can be learned and nurtured from a very early age.

Let’s look at three essential qualities of a resilient mind:

  1. Attitude – Resilient people look back at difficult experiences as challenges to invent a new future. They see solutions, strength and inspiration. So, one’s attitude can mitigate the brain’s natural tendency to see the world as an unfriendly place. By changing your attitude, you are actually building new neural pathways, which now means you are writing a new story.
  2. Positive Self-Image – Resilient people are constantly evaluating themselves from a NON-JUDGMENTAL perspective. What worked, what didn’t work? They are willing to make course corrections based on their objective analysis.
  3. Sense of Purpose – in order to subject ourselves to the high demands and challenges that “going for it” requires, we need to have a powerful reason. Simon Sinek, in his Ted talk, called it “Your Why.”

When your attitude, your self-image and your purpose are in alignment, you have the magic ingredients to forge a new future. Even though your mind “remembers” past negative experiences, you are not destined to repeat them.

If you find that you “know” this information, but are still not able to let go of situations you feel are still holding you back, I invite you to take the Mastery Under Pressure quiz on your level of peak performance skills at www.masteryunderpressure.net.

Tina Greenbaum, LCSW is an Optimal Performance Specialist, highly trained psychotherapist, Author, Speaker and dynamic Workshop Leader. Driven by her mission to educate leaders and their employees on the importance of peak performance and stress management skills, she takes pride in providing cutting edge technology necessary to function in high-stress environments; including the latest in neuroscience, energy psychology, sports psychology, Western learning theory, and ancient practices of the East. Tina Greenbaum is an Elite Level Speaker at www.speakerstardom.com.