As I forced myself to ask her if she'd "like to go bowling with me sometime," I spaced out mentally. Luckily, she said yes, which made me feel a strange mix of euphoria and nervousness, and I think I smiled and squeaked out a few words of approval. My mind was spinning with too many thoughts. Why? I really liked her and didn't want to look stupid, which increased my chances of looking stupid, because the pressure I placed on myself gave me difficulties with routine things like speaking and thinking clearly.
But when we watch movies, the hero always seems to know what to do and often does it with perfect, calm execution. We tend to glorify those who can withstand high pressure and perform well, whether on film or in real life. Perhaps it speaks to a common fear people share - ruining a golden opportunity with everyone watching. We all want to execute like clutch athletes in sports, suave romantics, and gifted public speakers.
How is it that some people do so well under pressure while others visibly shake?