Juliet knows she’s one of the best tennis players in her community league, but whenever she gets on the court, she’s paralyzed by self-consciousness. Did the crowd notice how bad that shot was? With all eyes on her, Juliet keeps bungling big points and losing matches she should win. On this episode of How To!, new host David Epstein brings on Sian Beilock, president of Barnard College and the author of Choke, to walk us through the science of why sometimes we play our worst when it matters the most. For Juliet to ace her game, Sian says, she needs to practice being self-conscious and then learn to push past it. It’s all too common for women to shy away from natural competition for fear of “not being nice,” but playing to win doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk—advice that applies to Juliet’s life off the court as well.
If you liked this episode, check out “How To Perform Under Pressure.”
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Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.