Do Your Performances Hit or Miss?

I ran across a quote by Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, that really spoke to me.   Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who spent three years in a concentration camp.  When released, he chronicled his ordeal in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1959).   In this best-selling book, he concluded that even in the most absurd, painful, and dehumanized situation, life has potential meaning and that therefore even suffering is meaningful.

When I was reminded of Frankl and his conclusions, I immediately thought PROCESS!  He’s talking about focusing on the journey, not the destination.  And then, the quote hit me right between the eyes:

Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself…. Viktor Frankl

What a great way to think about performing.  If all we are trying to do is to produce a certain outcome, then we are very likely going to miss the experience along the way.  It’s all about where and on what you choose to focus.

Focus on being the best performer at that audition, or winning that competition, or playing or singing perfectly and look out.  That kind of outcome focus is not only likely to make you miss your mark, but it will suck all the joy out of your performing as well.

Focus on your preparation—your effort, effective strategies, and the plans you’ve made to put those strategies into action and then, trusting and relying on your efforts will keep your focus on what is within your control—the process of preparing and performing—your journey.

Isn’t that what Frankl is talking about when he said that success will be a “side-effect” or a by-product of your surrender to. . . your surrender to “a cause greater than oneself”—your music?

My advice?  Give up!  Give up on that outcome focus.  Let go of your outcome focus and turn your attention to what is within your control.

Then you will live to see that in the long-run–in the long-run, I say!–success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.?  Viktor Frankl

Next time you are under pressure to perform your best, examine your focus.  Where are you aiming?  At winning?  At being the best?  At perfection?   If so, change it—shift your focus—aim at what it will take to reach those goals and enjoy the ride!


Want to learn more about how to develop your own unique pre-performance routine and the most effective mindset?  Then, check out The Relaxed Musician Program:  Mental Preparation for Confident Performances, A 14-Day Plan   Download Day 1 workbook and audio to see how the program can work for you.  With purchase, you will receive 2 great bonuses—Your Pre-Performance Checklist and the e-book, Letting Go of the Need to be Perfect!

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