Many people believe that 'fight or flight' are the two most common human reactions in stressful situations. But this generalisation fails to represent the third response that ordinary people experience on the daily; cracking under pressure.
It doesn't matter if you have completed a task perfectly 1000 times; when you have witnesses, when you are relying on an easy execution or when put on the spot, you are going to crack under the pressure.
1. Parallel parking
The size of your car does not matter nor does executing this move daily in a quiet lane. If there is someone in your passenger seat, or a street dotted with tables full of patrons, your parallel park simply will not be completed in two gear shifts. Ninety percent of the time you will pretend you didn't see the spot instead of attempting it. There is too much street cred to be lost by hitting the curb five times.
2. Doing my hair
Your hair will always look its best when you wake up alone or are doing the grocery shopping in tracksuit pants. Trying to recreate the exact steps that shaped your perfect pyjama-messy up-do for your high-school reunion or your cousin's wedding won't cut it. You will look like you simultaneously spun around inside a washing machine and a clothes dryer. Your hair will never look as perfect as you want it to, when you want it to.
3. Recalling jokes
This whole scenario is one of the most socially awkward situations.
You have either finished laughing at someone's joke and proclaim you know the greatest joke in history... but you just can't remember it. Or, you are asked if you know any jokes and you proclaim that you know plenty. Except you can't remember them.
4. Remembering names
This can go one of two ways.
1. Familiar stranger approaches.
Familiar stranger: "Hi Lisa! I haven't seen you since the Christmas party, how are you?"
Me: "Bill! I'm well, how are you?"
Familiar stranger: "I don't know who Bill is, but Jim is just fine."
2. Familiar stranger approaches.
Me: "Crap, I know that guy coming over, but I can't remember his name"
Reliable friend: "That's okay, I will introduce myself"
Familiar stranger: "Hi Lisa."
Me: "Hello, this is my friend Rosie, this is...."
Reliable friend: "You're doing it wrong"
5. Remembering passwords
When you need to show a presentation or an awesome video on your YouTube account, you won't be able to. Because you have forgotten your password.
You have the same password for everything, don't you? No, you decided to get internet responsible that one time and now QWERTY won't cut it.
You will also forget your pin number when you owe people money and you will PUK your phone when you are intoxicated and isolated. Every. Single. Time.
6. Remembering facts
Colleague: "Did you know that movie trailers were originally shown after the movie, which is why they are called "trailers?"
You: "Did you know that whales... sometimes, do stuff?"
7. Cooking an egg
How many solo fancy breakfasts have you made for yourself? How many times has the egg yolk dripped onto your plate just perfectly? But when cooking breakfast for a new partner or your family, your scrambled eggs will taste like greasy fish and your omelette will turn in to said scrambled eggs. The chicken may have come first after all.
Sleeping isn't a stressful activity, except when you don't want it to be. An early bedtime for your early flight in the morning will make no difference.
The three imaginary sheep you count (let's be honest, this is boring), the breathing exercises and your contemplation of how large the universe actually is won't help you. The best you can hope for is only waking up startled once every two hours rather than every 15 minutes.
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