How to Re-channel Nervous Energy

How to Re channel Nervous EnergyWhat follows is a true story:

(It was published in the National Enquirer, back in 1977.)

Laura Shultz, a 63-year-old grandmother was in her kitchen preparing dinner. Then, out of nowhere, she heard screaming from her driveway. Not the kind of scream you hear in horror movies, but a desperate shriek that makes you feel like someone poured molten steel down your spine.

She dropped everything, and ran outside.

Her grandson was lying on the ground, and his arm was pinned underneath the back end of her truck. (She later found out that the handbrake had come loose and caused the vehicle to roll backwards onto him.)

She did what I guess any mother or grandmother would do, and without thinking immediately ran to the back of the truck to lift it -- except, instead of it being a futile effort, like you'd expect, she actually succeeded.

She lifted the truck, and his arm became free.

When reporters caught wind of "the event" (as she later called it), they flocked to her door. But she wouldn't speak of it to anyone.

In fact, as weeks passed, she became depressed.

When Dr. Charles Garfield, the author of the book Peak Performers, read about her in the National Enquirer, he travelled to her town (Tallahassee, Florida) and he managed to land an interview with her.

Do you know why she was depressed?

In the days that followed "the event", when she had time to reflect on it, she realized: "If I was able to do this when I didn’t think I could, what does that say about the rest of my life? Have I wasted my life?"

Now, you might have heard this story before.

It's become something of a cliché in coaching and self-help circles.

But Laura Schultz had it all wrong, and so do most the other folk who hear about her story. What she achieved that day has nothing to do with "what is possible" or "mind over matter" or other beliefs. It's all down to a phenomenon that scientists are studying (and barely beginning to understand right now).

It's like this:

In times of stress, our bodies become flooded with nervous energy. I'm not talking about adrenaline (though I'm sure that has something to do with it).

What I'm talking about is kind of like a cross between dread and focus.

For most of us though, it feels like dread.

Until something potentially life-threatening happens, like your grandchild is trapped beneath the wheels of a truck, or a huge refrigerator falls onto your baby daughter. In times like these, nervous energy gives you strength.

Do you want to know what's interesting though?

You can also tap into nervous energy in non-life-threatening situations, like job interviews or team meetings or "step-into-my-office" chats with your boss.

It takes a little bit of practice, but you can do it.

Not only does it give you massive amounts of focus and put you "in the zone", but it also makes you come across -- ironically -- as more animated, more charismatic, and more confident.

Does that sound crazy?


Except I've seen it with my own eyes so many times that I know there's something there. I'm not saying I understand the science behind it. I'm just saying that there's something there, and we ought to look into it more.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.