Mistake #2: Doing the Seemingly Right (but Absolutely Not Right) Thing
The more important something is, the more most of us want to control every single aspect—every word, thought and action—for a flawless presentation. But the worst thing you can do in any high-pressure, high-stakes situation is think too much about what you’re doing, found Sian Beilock, a cognitive scientist at the University of Chicago. If you’re at a job interview and you’re thinking about how to sound confident, squeeze in a mention of your volunteer work, pronounce the head honcho’s last name and avoid displaying your sweat-stained armpit—you’re probably going to screw up. We fall apart when we overtax our working memory, writes Beilock in her book, Choke. We just don’t have the processing power to carefully check our progress in the midst of a performance. To prevent overthinking (and over-worrying), try practicing under stress; for instance, asking your tough-as-nails friend to fire interview questions at you.