We have all made mistakes at one point or another in our lives. Sometimes, the nature of the mistake is simple, like omitting an important section of a financial forecast. Sometimes it may be something more complex like forgetting that there was an important meeting scheduled for the next day and subsequently forgetting to book a venue.

Regardless of the complexity of the mistake, there is always one common denominator; the pressure that arises. Mistakes and the pressure that comes along with them are an inevitable part of our lives and staying calm is the best way to get over them.

Recent research from the Harvard Business School shows that most people get it wrong when it comes to staying calm under pressure. The research shows that most people try to calm down after anxiety creeps in. This means that despite the efforts to remain calm, all they are probably doing is thinking of all the negativities and setbacks that could happen.


On the other hand, welcoming the mere possibility of a crisis happening; getting excited by the prospect of a crisis, goes a long way in ensuring that people focus more on the positive things that could happen. After all, it could only get better. Staying calm is all about mentality. Being positive even in the face of challenges is what helps us manage those challenges better.

  1. Be logical and objective

Of course you have made a huge mistake that might cause you embarrassment. Yes, your boss might yell at you. Yes, it may affect your next performance appraisal in one way or another, but is it really going to get you fired? Are you going to lose your house courtesy of it? Is it going to rain doom and catastrophe upon you? What’s the worst that will happen? Will the mistake even matter five years from now?

Answer these questions and you will realise that the worst that could come from the mistake is the embarrassment of making the mistake; that is the source of your panic. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will be able to get over the mistake. In so doing, you will be building the confidence you require to find a solution.

  1. Put things into Perspective


You are probably wondering how you do this. Well, it is pretty simple. You have a social circle right? Every member of your social circle, be it at home or at work has made mistakes at one point or another and their lives haven’t stopped. You need to appreciate the fact that life goes on even after a mistake and you are not defined by your mistakes.

  1. The focus is not so much on you; at least not as much as you think


After making mistakes, most people tend to feel and think that the spotlight is now on them. You may think that your boss has all his/her focus on you but the truth is that they are more concerned about trying to find a solution. The more you worry and think about their possible judgement of your actions, the more anxious you will become. Instead of thinking about what they think about you, why not try to be a part of the solution?

  1. Expand your Logic

Objectivity and logic is what will help you maintain your calm. Analyse your current situation. Think of what happened, think of the possible consequences that may arise from whatever happened. Now, ask yourself whether there is any possibility of avoiding those consequences. If the possibility exists, think of how they will be avoided and also consider people who might help you avoid them. Sometimes, it may be too let to avoid the consequences. If this is so, think of ways to tone down the consequences.

  1. Do something; Act!

You have now established the facts and the possibilities that exist. Now it is time to put actions into the picture. Do something that will alleviate the situation. Acting to find a solution will make you feel better about yourself and will keep the negative anxiety at bay.

  1. Take it easy on yourself


Everyone makes mistakes. You are not the first and neither will you be the last to be in that situation. Great people like Henry Ford, Oprah Winfrey and even Walt Disney all faced setbacks. But they still became the great icons they are today. So, instead of wallowing in the mistake you made, why not focus on how to move on from it?

In conclusion, remaining calm and staying positive when under pressure will help you perform better. Research by TalentSmart on more than a million people has shown that 90% of the best performers are those who are able to manage their emotions well in times of pressure and stress. Making mistakes is not fun, but panicking does not help the situation either. It only hampers the ability to find a solution. The above strategies will help you keep calm in the face of challenges.

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