Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Under pressure, everything becomes fluid

There’s a Dutch saying that “under pressure, everything becomes fluid”. It’s a philosophical saying rooted in science. Some 25 years ago, my (wise) mentor used this phrase to explain organisational changes. Resistance to change always disappears once the pressure (to change) becomes high enough. The required amount of pressure varies per person.

Since a few weeks, I have been deleting so-called “memories” from my Facebook profile. My 2012 postings already show an increase in pressure, well before my 2013 burnout. Only with hindsight, I realise how much pressure was needed to make me change my life. I don’t give up easily. My strength is also my weakness. Under pressure, everything becomes fluid, including me.

Activists, like the ones in Hong Kong right now, use this same saying for creating change: under pressure, everything becomes fluid. It’s however increasingly unlikely that the Hong Kong protesters can exert enough pressure for achieving their goals. The Chinese military is already gathering in Shenzhen, a city close to Hong Kong (eg, Independent).

The saying also refers to nature’s way of creating diamonds, objects of perceived beauty and perfection. Elgin Power Solutions: “Diamonds are crystals of pure carbon that have formed under a combination of high temperatures and extreme pressure in the Earth’s mantle.”

Pressure results in Change and adequate pressure results in improvement.

It appears adequate pressure is positive, while inadequate pressure gives negative results.

However, the outcome of Change determines – with hindsight – the label (in)adequate (pressure). Hence, it’s exactly the other way around.

Remarkably, I didn’t notice an English equivalent for this Dutch – and German – saying. My observation seems confirmed in a 2017 ING Bank press release. I did however notice a remotely connected quote by Canadian-American motivational speaker Brian Tracy with a (very) different context: “Nobody works better under pressure. They just work faster.” (eg, CIO, GoodReads, Newslocker)

“True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure – the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature.” A quote from Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee (b. 1941), an American author.

Under Pressure (1981) by Queen featuring David Bowie
artists, artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

Pressure pushing down on me 
Pressing down on you, no man ask for 
Under pressure that burns a building down 
Splits a family in two 
Puts people on streets

Note: all markings (bolditalic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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