416: How to Avoid Choking Under Pressure with Dr. Sian Beilock, Cognitive Scientist, Author & President of Barnard College


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By Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D. and Dr. Cindra Kamphoff. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Dr. Sian Beilock is a celebrated cognitive scientist. She’s published over a hundred papers in her field of study and gave a Ted Talk on choking under pressure which has been viewed over 2 million times. She is the current president of Barnard College in New York City.

Prior to her appointment as President, Beilock spent twelve years at the University of Chicago. As the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology and a member of the Committee on Education, she specialized in how children and adults learn and perform at their best, especially under stress.

President Beilock is the author of two books that have been published in more than a dozen languages—the critically acclaimed Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal about Getting It Right When You Have To (2010) and How the Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel (2015).

President Beilock earned her Bachelor of Science in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego, and doctorates of philosophy in both kinesiology and psychology from Michigan State University.

In this episode, Dr. Beilock and Dr. Kamphoff discuss:

  • The science behind performing under pressure
  • Why choking occurs
  • How we can reach our unlimited potential
  • Why it is important to “Don’t think, just do.”
  • How to unhook our prefrontal cortex
  • How writing thoughts down on paper can prevent your mind from dwelling on them
  • The power of self-compassion in pressure moments
  • Numerous tools to help you avoid choking under pressure
  • Plus, much more…


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Quotes from this episode:

Kobe Bryant once said, “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”

Ed Jacoby once said: “Pressure come from within and so must be mastered from within.”

Sian Beilock writes, “Athletes’ tendency to overthink their performance is one of the big predictor of whether they will chock in important games or matches.”

496 episodes