Sian Beilock || How Not to Choke Under Pressure

December 3, 2020

Today it’s great to have Sian Beilock on the podcast. Sian began her tenure as Barnard College President in July 2017, after spending 12 years at the University of Chicago, where she served on the faculty as the Stella M. Rowley Professor of psychology and an executive vice provost. Her work as a cognitive scientist revolves around performance anxiety and reveals simple psychological strategies that can be used to ensure success in everything from test-taking and public speaking to athletics and job interviews. In 2010, she wrote the critically acclaimed book, Choke, and in 2015 she wrote How The Body Knows Its Mind. In 2017, she won the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences, and her recent TED Talk has been viewed more than 2 million times.

Time Stamps

[02:57] Sian’s interest in real-world practical applications of science

[04:04] Why writing a book can sometimes be a daunting process

[08:07] Choking under pressure

[09:50] Is flow the opposite of choking?

[11:20] Being in the right frame of mind in different situations

[11:59] Sian’s definition of choking

[13:30] Factors influencing a woman’s career success

[17:20] A teacher’s math anxiety and how it impacts a student’s self-belief

[19:20] Advice to young people on matters of confidence

[20:02] Importance of taking risks uncomfortable situations

[20:48] How to mentally prepare yourself for high stakes situations

[22:07] Barnard College as a unique academic institution

[24:47] Sian’s ultimate topic in a freshman seminar

[27:01] Why college campuses are important places to have cultural conversations

[28:16] How curriculums can incorporate science into today’s reality

[30:03] Teaching about how to think and not what to think

[31:03] Why classrooms should not be considered a safe space

[32:12] Why it’s okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes

[35:09] How the body knows its mind

[37:35] How nature can change how you approach different scenarios in life

[37:57] The Alexander technique in eliminating physical tension

[38:58] How an acting class can help you get used to being uncomfortable

[39:22] Sian’s final tips

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