Monday, February 28, 2022

Pressure, Pressure and More Pressure

“Some people thrive under pressure, but pressure can also ruin your performance, it can push you down angles which you don't want to go.”

-Henry Cavill

Psychology and how the mind works has always fascinated me. When you learn how your own mind works it can enable you to function at a higher level. Additionally, when you learn how other people’s minds work, it can help with your relationship with them. This is because you know both what to expect from them and how to best communicate with them.

Psychology plays a critical role in aviation. Pilots need to learn how they behave in certain situations. First officers need to know how, and when they should raise objections to the captain. Biases during flight (e.g. expectation bias, confirmation bias), as well as human factors (task saturation, tunnel vision) can lead to catastrophic results.  

There is something else that can cause pilots to make poor judgements, and that is pressure. 

Pressure can come in one of three forms:

  1. Direct pressure

  2. Indirect pressure/historical

  3. Self-imposed pressure.

Direct pressure is when hierarchy demands that the pilot must do something. E.g. land the plane on time and at the intended airport. This can result in the pilot performing unsafe procedures, for example flying too fast or landing in unsafe weather conditions, in order to meet the demanded goal.

Indirect pressure/historical is where nothing is being told to the pilot at this moment, however, he is aware that his colleague was fired when the colleague chose to land at an alternate airport due to an unsafe weather condition at the intended airport.

Self-imposed pressure is when nothing is being told/demanded of the pilot at all. Nevertheless, the pilot feels an obligation towards the company and his passengers to the point that the pilot doesn’t recognize any other options other than landing at the intended airport at the scheduled time.

People will recognize the direct pressure while it is happening, but the latter two pressures they’re often blinded to while it is happening.

Why am I speaking about pilots? Because you can change pilots to children and it is the same story.

Children feel these same 3 different types of pressures from their parents. But most of the time, the parents are oblivious to the fact that they’re pressuring their child via indirect pressure/historical pressure. Parents also don’t try to alleviate the self-induced pressure that the child has placed upon themselves towards the goal of gaining the acceptance and recognition of the parent.

Children are sponges, they hear what you say. 

They remember how you’ve previously reacted to different events, regardless of whether it involved them or not.

These all play a huge role in the indirect and historical pressures that we place upon our children.

In the coming articles, I hope to delve further into this idea. How it relates to specific situations, including children reporting sexual abuse, and how we can better recognize it and prevent it from happening in the future.

Yisroel Picker is a Social Worker who lives in Jerusalem. He has a private practice which specializes in working with people of all ages helping them understand their own thought processes, enabling them to improve their level of functioning, awareness, social skills and more.

To speak with Yisroel about presenting at a child safety event or to discuss a personal case, email him at

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