Have you ever noticed that when you take a bucket of balls onto the tennis court or driving range and just hit, eventually you settle into a nice rhythm and things start to click?
Or how in the practice room, if you keep noodling around with the same tricky passage 20, 30, 50 times, suddenly things fall into place and just work?
It’s a great feeling. It feels like we’ve figured it out. That our muscles have gotten the hang of things, and we’ve made some tangible progress.
Have you ever wished you could be someone else?
Someone for whom a particular skill or quality just seemed so easy, whether it was their warmth and positive energy, insightful and keen wit, or freewheeling dance moves?
Meanwhile we bemoan our inner Eeyore and cringe at past memories of uncomfortable attempts at humor and awkwardness on the dance floor and wallow in a downward spiral of self-doubt and discouragement.
How do we navigate around this tendency to underestimate ourselves and overestimate everyone else?
Art and self-worth
Clarinetist James Campbell once remarked that if you really know the music well, you can’t be nervous.
There’s a lot of truth to this – but not necessarily in the way that it might seem at first glance. On the surface, it sounds like a statement about preparation.
Have you ever gone to the doctor for a shot, and been given the oh-so-helpful advice to “just relax” right before they stabbed you with a needle?
Or been moments away from walking on stage to give a big performance, and encouraged to “just relax”?
Though completely well-intentioned, most of us know from experience that this is easier said than done.
But no big deal, right?
Well…for some, being told to relax might actually be the worst advice you could give (ok, not literally the worst advice ever, but it could do more harm than good).