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.