Suitable challenges

I don't work well without a bit of pressure. I'm not sure if that's healthy or not. When there are more stakes riding on something, or when the probability of failure is a bit high—it's easier to concentrate, to sift out the useful work from the useless work.

It's like when the going is smooth, or if there is little pressure, I'm some kind of nebula of free-floating particles that might have the same mass as a planet or star, the same potential for order and purpose, but none of the strength. It's all there but it doesn't come together. Under pressure something forms out of that shapelessness.

I don't know if the better approach is to be able to meet all challenges vigorously—the great and the small alike—or if my approach is etched in, a well-worn groove that has always been there and will always be waiting for me when I need it.

I prefer pressure—sometimes, not all the time—because of the calmness it brings. Inside my head is a giant soundboard, like in a recording study, and when the time is right, I can lean over and turn down channels, one by one, until only the crystal sound of what needs to be done is left. I don't want to tune out so much all the time—life is in all that noise—but there's that feeling when the channels fade out, a closed-eye pursed-lip puff of air, a weight being lifted, then a breath in, eyes open, and stride out into the field.

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