Five Silly Beliefs Performers Have

Path of LifePerformers are no different than other people.  We believe silly, even irrational things sometime.  When we do, we are most likely thinking one or more of the following:

  1. “Things should (ought, must, have to) be different than they are!”
  2. “It’s awful (horrible, terrible, catastrophic) that     they aren’t!”
  3. “I can’t stand it (it’s too long, too much, too big, too painful)!”
  4. “Somebody here is a jerk!” (It can’t be me!)
  5. “Because I have failed (or not done my best), I’ll always fail (or flub)!”

You can probably come up with some other irrational or silly thoughts, but these are the most common—the five silliest beliefs that performers have.   If you have read about or studied psychology, you may recognize these as coming from the work of Albert Ellis, the father of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).    He called this kind of thinking, “MUSTerbation”—demands that result in self-defeating behavior.  For example, “I must, you must, it must, he must, she must, they must, etc.”

If you are breathing while reading this (yes, that means you!), you have probably thought one of these thoughts at one time or another.

“I should have won.”  or “I ought to have performed better.”

“I feel awful and can’t get past the fact that I had that memory slip.”

“I can’t stand the fact that I’m not first chair.”

“That judge is a real jerk.”

“I messed up that same spot again.  I’ll probably never get it right!”

Pay attention to what goes through your mind when you are unhappy or upset with yourself or about your performing.  Becoming aware of your thinking and thought patterns is the first step to making a change that can positively impact your attitude about your performing.

The following questions can help you gain insight into some of these beliefs that can be holding you back as a performer:

  1. Who or what disturbs or upsets you?
  2. Who or what do you strongly believe should, ought, must, or have to be different?
  3. Who or what do you strongly think is awful, terrible, horrible, or catastrophic?
  4. Who or what do you down or condemn or believe is worthless?
  5. Who or what do you believe is absolutely needed, necessary, or required?
  6. What are the things you strongly believe are absolutes, extremes,  or critically important?
  7. Who or what do you most often or most strongly complain about?
  8. What is your greatest wish that you believe you mostly likely won’t get?
  9. What goal have you made (even unconsciously) into a demand because you not only want to but have convinced yourself you must achieve it?
  10. What happened in your past from which you cannot recover?
  11. What things do you find are too hard, too much, too painful, too upsetting, or that you just can’t stand?
  12. Who or what are you most likely to lose your temper over?
  13. What are the biggest stresses in your life?
  14. Who or what do you feel most helpless about?
  15. Who or what do you feel most hopeless about?
  16. What are your most strongly felt demands, wishes, or hopes?

The last question is to determine what insight or awareness you have had as a result of this exercise.   Check out next week’s article to see how you can change these kinds of unwanted or irrational beliefs and improve your attitude and your performing.

If this has helped you or you have something to add, I’d love to hear about it.  Please leave a comment below.

If you would like to explore this further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Would you like to learn how to develop your own unique pre-performance routine and your most effective performance mindset?  Then, check out The Relaxed Musician:  Mental Preparation for Confident Performances.   Download Day 1 of the 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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