The Road to Excellence Is Paved with Mistakes
In school, we’re punished for our mistakes and equate success with avoiding them. After leaving school, many people avoid learning situations out of fear of humiliation. Instead, many become obsessed with denying their own mistakes and pointing out those of others. In a society where technological advances and cultural changes are requiring a great deal of learning to keep up, this is a huge problem.
The hard truth is that learning requires you not only make mistakes, but also acknowledge, fix, and learn from them. To be a truly successful, you must get comfortable making mistakes and not be deterred by bullies. I finally achieved this mindset after many years of struggling.
Learning to play an instrument requires a lot of bravery. But I see people face their fears again and again because they know they are on the route to bettering themselves. They may not become the most excellent musicians in the world, but they will become excellent by taking risks, working with others, and satisfying their curiosity.
I’m in the final stages of editing my e-book in what will hopefully be the first of many in a series. In the e-books (and my teaching/performance), I emphasize “smart practice,” which is systematic, efficient, and comprehensive. The system makes it easier to be emotionally detached from mistakes and simply correct them.
Lately, I’ve realized the system has another benefit that I can use to help people less anxious about taking risks: it allows you to make most your mistakes in individual practice or group rehearsal, before you perform. Being gig-ready means making enough mistakes to get to where you need to be.
As a musician, do you struggle with a fear of mistakes and the judgement of others? If so, what strategies have you used (or could you use) to help solve this problem?