Today, we will consider the good old Yerkes-Dodson Law. Yes, yes, this common law that everyone knows like bread and butter. Actually, you probably do know it, but recognize it… maybe another thing.
What’s a Yerkes-Dodson and why should I care anyway? Good question. No, it is not a new breed of tiny fluffy cute ball of designer dog or the latest tea like, slightly alcoholic, brewed beverage you might buy from a girl wearing flannel and sporting a nose ring. The Yerkes-Dodson Law (YD Law) is pure business… er except when it is not. Actually, the YD Law can be applied to just about any aspect of life; that is why you should care!
Ok, so what is it already!? The YD Law is an observed correlation between stress and performance. Got it?
In a nutshell, YD tells us that for every task in life there exists an optimum level of stress to achieve the greatest level of performance. Got it now? It is simple really. When delicately pulling out the side block of a tall, tilting JENGA stack against your ultimate JENGA nemesis, would you prefer silence to concentrate or your nefarious nemesis to loudly chant ‘JENGA! JENGA!’ in your ear? On the flip side, an NBA player doesn’t often make the Top 10 plays list without the boosting energy of the screaming fans.
Really, the YD Law is an observation of how we daily alter our levels of stress to achieve peak performance. Since all of us already do this daily, does this mean that this observation is simply that and not useful for much else? Not at all! Being aware of such correlations allows you to actively use them to fine tune and squeak every ounce of potential out of any time and task.
When it comes to considering your future in a college and career, consider the YD Law. First, you will want to pick a college that will supply the necessary level of stress for you. Do you find that you work best in a small town and a quiet environment where you can feel comfortable and concentrate on your work? Or, do you find that you need the energy and stimulus of a big school or big city to really get you going? Or, maybe you fit somewhere nicely in the middle. When you visit the campus of a potential school, be sure to walk around long enough to get a good ‘feel’ or ‘vibe’ of the campus as well as the surrounding town. This a great reason why to schedule your campus visits during the colleges’ school year if possible!
Secondly, when choosing a major, consider similar aspects of a job. What is the environment like? What is the work load like? How much pressure will be involved? Remember, pressure is not necessarily a bad thing. Some need the pressure to get anything done; I’ve seen some killer intentional procrastinators out there!
You may not be able to pronounce the name, but the YD Law can work for you. Consider what levels of stress you find yourself in the middle of a particular task and then how effectively you are progressing on said task. Maybe you need to chill out a little bit. Or, maybe you need a jolt of stress to get you going. Use the YD Law to your advantage and then Take Over The WORL…. I mean, do great things!