My son-in-law, Peter, has recently been trying to improve his golf game. It’s no secret that his new hobby is to impress my husband, Eddie. Talk about peer pressure from your father-in-law!
Last weekend, we visited my daughter, Marie, and Peter in Detroit. It was Eddie’s birthday, so naturally, we played eighteen holes of golf. We were all game for a little friendly competition and Peter was eager to show off his new skills.
The first few holes were sub-par (pun intended), but on hole number six we got in the groove. Everyone but Peter had finished with par, or the number of hits the course decides you should need to make it in the hole. I rarely hit par, so it was an exciting time. Peter was last to putt and if he made his last shot he would finish with par as well. The pressure was on to keep up with the rest of us.
Good versus bad stress
Often stress can create chaos in the amygdala of our brains and cause a fight, flight, or freeze response. Any of these three responses can negatively affect our performance. However, there is a good kind of stress that helps us rise to a challenge. When other people push someone to improve, we call it positive peer pressure.
Positive peer pressure is more internal than it seems. If a person responds to peer pressure with thoughts of failure, doubt, or general negativity towards themself, he or she is more likely to fail. Conversely, if a person uses the outside influences to encourage positive self-talk, he or she is more likely to succeed.
Peter is already a positive person who believes in himself. With the addition of his family cheering him on and setting the bar high, Peter made his par putt.