How to Keep Your Cool Backstage Before Auditions and Performances

How to Keep Your Cool Backstage Before Auditions and Performances

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Football is a very physical sport of course, but there is certainly a mental aspect to the game as well. Likely, you’ve seen coaches use a strategy known as “icing the kicker." This is where a coach will call a timeout, right as the kicker is about to attempt a field goal. In principle, the idea is to give them a chance to start overthinking things, and choke. Kind of devious, and it makes sense - even though the data suggests that it probably…


A Mental Tweak to Shrink the Gap Between Your Best Playing and What Happens Under Pressure

A Mental Strategy to Shrink the Gap Between Your Best Playing and What Happens Under Pressure

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes For me, the days leading up to an audition or competition were often way more stressful and unpleasant than the actual event itself. And inevitably, I’d play some funky mind games in an effort to relieve some of the pressure of doing well. Like trying to convince myself that I didn’t care if I won the prize or passed the audition. And brainstorming all of the reasons why winning may not be such a good thing. With my Juilliard audition, for…


David Kim: On Letting Go and Being Yourself

David Kim: On Letting Go and Being Yourself

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like the only way to get ahead in the world is to be an egotistical jerk? I’m sure that there probably are a number of self-obsessed, egomaniacal dingleberries in the upper echelons of every field, but it’d be nice to think that this isn’t necessary in order to find success, happiness, and meaningful work. Meet David Kim Case in point, violinist David Kim has been concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1999, and is one of the most…


A Scientific(ish) Rationale for Keeping Photos of Friends and Family in Your Case

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes Nobody enjoys spam or junk mail, but there’s something particularly aggravating about the dreaded telemarketer call. Maybe it's because deleting emails and tossing out junk mail doesn’t hurt anyone's feelings, while hanging up on a live human feels a bit more personal. So I was intrigued to learn about apps that instead of hanging up on telemarketers, actually aim to waste their time by keeping them on the phone as long as possible (here’s a…


A Comparison of Two Types of Anti-Choking Strategies

A Comparison of Two Types of Anti-Choking Strategies

Subscribe to the weekly "audio edition" via iTunes A few years ago, we took a look at a simple technique to prevent choking, that was actually so simple, it didn’t seem like it could possibly work (you can re-read it here). Essentially, it involved squeezing a soft ball in one’s left hand for 30 seconds before performing a skill. Wait...that's it? The rationale is that paying too much attention to the mechanics of a skill tends to lead to choking. And this unhelpful type of self-focused…