Are you one of those people who leaves important tasks to the very last minute, sweating bullets and downing coffee? No pressure, no diamonds said Thomas Carlyle, and Sally Sampson agrees.
My bloodshot eyes tear up, as a not so subtle pulse keeps time like a metronome in my forehead. There is screeching, hair-pulling and casual moments of utmost despair, whereby I throw myself onto the floor and weep inconsolably.
I know what you’re thinking:
a) It’s probably just a typical day in the Sampson household.
b) I must be on my period.
c) I am possessed by a rogue evil spirit.
d) I should be in rehab.
Now while a, b, c and d may all be true and will probably all make an appearance in my autobiography one day, the reason behind my disheveled and somewhat scrappy state is pretty much something that I am accustomed to. And it’s not because I ought to be living in an asylum (I should!), that’s just how I get because I am part of a not-so-secret society of sadists.
Don’t be surprised! I’m sure you’ve come across sadistic people like me, at one point or another. In fact, you may be from the very same clan of sadists that I pertain to. I can’t be the only one who finds an insane amount of pleasure in the most excruciating levels of pain. You know who I mean; those people, who waltz about by day acting like normal fun-loving folk and who, by night, transform and spend hours and hours in front of their computer screens, sweating rivers.
I’m not being dirty by the way. If your mind went to porn and other lustful pleasures of the flesh, then maybe you ought to set some time aside for self-reflection, because I’m just talking about people who are only ever productive under pressure. You know what I mean. Give them a week, give them a year, give them a decade, these people will ALWAYS and without fail, start their assignment or task the night before it needs to be handed in… and yes, I am one of them.
I don’t know why I am the way I am, but I think I was just born that way, so you really can’t judge me for it. The honest-to-God truth is, I can only work and produce something half-decent when I am sleep-deprived and under severe, suicide-inducing pressure. My justification for this? Well, I’m not sure I have any, but as Thomas Carlyle once said “No pressure, no diamonds.”
Even writing this article, I have placed myself in a situation where I am fucking myself over to be able to meet my deadline and I can’t, for the life of me, work out why I’ve done this to myself!!! These days, I’m even on holiday from my day-job, so technically, I should be well-rested, focused, organised and really, if I’m totally honest with myself, I should’ve started this post about four days ago so that I could now be sitting down with a good book, completely relaxed with a hot cup of coffee and a peaceful smile of utter contentment on my face. Instead, I had to set an alarm to wake me up in the ungodly hours of the morning, my eyeliner (which I can never be fucked to remove the night before) is half smudged down my face, I’m downing my coffee cup like it is a shot of absinth and, all the while, I have one eye on the clock and its self-satisfied ticking, my constant reminder of how much (or should I say little) time I have left to submit this piece. My heart beats, my mind races…which is kind of how I imagine it must feel to snort cocaine. I wouldn’t really know to be honest, seeing as I’ve never touched the stuff; clearly, I never needed to anyway! Fuck drugs…I’m pretty wound up as it is… (this is a Public Service Digression: Drugs are bad; don’t do them!)
Growing up, this was one of my parents’ biggest frustrations with me. My mum, my sister, and my father do not belong to the sadistic group of human pressure cookers that I’ve pledged my allegiance to. They do this weird thing which they call ‘planning in advance’. If they have something to do, they often start well beforehand, to allow ample time for them to finish everything in a timely, orderly fashion and of course, to allow for the possibility of complications to occur. So naturally, for them, someone like me, who downs a gallon of coffee in half an hour, begins to think about starting work on a life-changing task about 15 minutes before it is due and has a mental breakdown before and/or after the task is completed is nothing short of outrageous and flat-out fucking mental!
And they’re right! It is totally and completely crazy! I agree. But I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush. Not the rush that comes from fucking myself over in the process, but the insane ecstasy that comes from accomplishing a task and getting it absolutely, one hundred percent spot-on, when all the odds are against me.
It’s a sadistic pleasure that comes from a sadistic pressure. And I’m a total pressure junkie in that respect.
But like I said, it’s not just me. Why else would potential employers ask applicants how well they perform under pressure?Something to think about…
Maybe, I wasn’t born the extreme pressure junkie that I’ve found myself to be…maybe society has literally geared and conditioned us to work under pressure so that we can cope with this capitalist world we live in. Maybe success, under the dominion of this worldwide economic system, is only afforded to those who push their minds and their bodies to the limits…
Speaking of limits, if you haven’t seen that Bradley Cooper film Limitless, you really should! Firstly, it has Bradley Cooper in it, which should be reason enough and secondly, it, more or less, deals with the necessity of performing to the best of your ability (and pretty much doing whatever it takes) to be able to have overwhelming, unprecedented and orgasmic levels of success. It’s a stimulating film for sure…
As usual, I don’t really have any answers. Just a fuckload of questions…
One thing is for sure however: the sadists are everywhere! And there is more than enough pressure to go round…