“Most of us know what happens when we obsess for pursuit of success in the material world. Anxiety and pressure become our permanent partners. «More» somehow is not only better, but never enough. ” –  Michael Neill- “A Revolution from the Inside Out ” Kobo Books

Anxiety and pressure

In Michael Neill’s view those who seek success in the “material world”, don’t make the path on their own … They have two travelling companions: anxiety and pressure… in a word stress!
Stress is essential to survival. It allows us to react in dangerous situations in which instinctively we must decide if we run away or attack (fly or fight).
This defence mechanism increases the levels of adrenaline in our system as a result of reaction of an area of the brain known as the Amygdala. Sometimes referred to as “primitive” or “reptilian”, it enables us to survive in situations in which our life or our integrity are seriously threatened.  Without stress or imminent dangerous situations, our thinking is made at the level of the pre-frontal cortex where logical reasoning happens. However, in situations of pressure , anxiety or stress our logical thinking is strongly conditioned by the need to deal with the reactions that come from a different, even antagonistic area of the brain.


Good negotiators never make decisions under pressure or impulsively. They know that their logical reasoning will be conditioned by the “surprise factor” (fear) and the need for reaction. In order to achieve success a good negotiator  will suspend any negotiations and wait until  “primitive” part of his or her brain has quietened down. Success would not be achieved if  the “companions de route”, pressure and anxiety, were allowed to remain in the driving seat!
This is why mediators, lawyers, and all those such as me and my colleagues at ASM who support or coach professionals involved in leading difficult negotiations, emphasise the importance of the phrase “know thyself”.  Those who “know themselves well “will find that they are  not conditioned by situations they cannot control or which have been imposed on them.


These professionals who are “masters” of the process of controlling (themselves) emotionally and maintaining control of their adrenaline levels and “emergency reasoning mechanisms”. Understanding that “less is better” they raise their levels of consciousness, keep a clear head and importantly get results and achieve success.

This advice is not just for professionals and business people. You don’t have to be a “Pro” in order to succeed! All you need to do is remember Aristotle’s advice. “Know thyself”… or possibly hire a workplace mediator, trainer or coach!