The Huffington Post:
Imagine that you are at the top of a ski slope, about to make a run. It’s a challenging slope, black diamond–steep and narrow, lots of trees. Plus it’s windy, and there’s that treacherous drop-off on the right. You’re an inexperienced skier, not a novice but not at all confident that you belong in such extreme terrain. Your heart is pounding and your gut is tight.
Now imagine that you’re on top of the very same slope, but you are a skilled downhill racer, an Olympic contender. You’re sure you know how to attack this slope–you’ve done it many times before–but even so, your heart is pounding and butterflies are fluttering in your gut.
Both of these hypothetical skiers are under stress, and feeling the arousal that comes with stress. But one is experiencing good stress, the other bad stress. They are both looking at the same slope, but one sees it as a threat, the other as a challenge. The expert knows that his skills are more than sufficient for the situation. The nervous learner has no such confidence.
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