5 Observations That Have Made Me More Peaceful Under Intense Stress

When everything is out of control, stop trying to control it.

Chris Wojcik
6 min readFeb 21, 2022


Post-training drilling in Toledo, OH — March 2021.

“Remember, it’s not how much you know that counts, but how much you can recall under stress.” — John Danaher, Professional Jiu-Jitsu coach

I’ve been meditating on this quote this afternoon.

I have a big competition this weekend (literally, my first-round opponent will outweigh me by at least 30 pounds), and I’ve been thinking about how I will handle the pressure of this new challenge.

I’m focusing on staying focused under stress. That’s why we train. That’s why we study.

In sports, no one cares what you know, unless you can show it when the lights are on.

These are the 5 mindset shifts that have helped me refocus my negative energy when life has thrown me into a shit storm.

The calm recognition of adversity.

Whenever something is going wrong for me, whether it’s on the mat, financially, or in personal relationships, the first thing I realize that I have to do is to identify the fact that I am currently facing adversity.

This is an important mental shift to make, because a lot of time when we are struggling, we are reacting to our circumstances. When your life is a series of reactions instead of actions, you’re not living, you’re avoiding death. It’s no wonder your peace is lost when life is going array — you aren’t thinking, you’re just doing.

Conscious action requires conscious thought, and without identifying a lack of conscious thought, you are leading yourself down a path of resistance and force.

Force is the enemy of flow. Flow is where problems are solved.

Memento mori.

In the situation that I mentioned in the introduction, my initial thought when I saw the blood everywhere and got told by the ref that I was basically on the verge of disqualification via “injury” was that everything was fucked.

For a moment, I completely immersed myself in my own personal hell.