Checking your Mind

My first open mic was one of the more nerve-wracking experiences of my life. I prepared harder for my first open mic than any other since. I had my act memorized to the last word. I rehearsed it line-for-line dozens of times because I was afraid of forgetting when I stepped on stage.

Now I am more comfortable on stage. I still get nervous but not to the same extent. Since I don’t get as nervous, I don’t prepare as much. I have an idea as to what I will say and then I get on stage. This lack of rehearsing shows in my performance. There has been an inverse relationship between my content and my stage presence. My content is not as refined, but my stage presence is stronger; therefore my overall performance has stayed about the same.

I had this same issue in school. After I did well on the first exam, I would feel smart and confident in my ability to ace the next exam. Then I wouldn’t prepare as much because I thought I was so smart. I knew I was capable of learning the material, but I forgot how I came realize my knowledge.

I am not the anxious type. I won’t freak out about every little thing, so when I am prepared for something, I am calm and under control. However there are disadvantages. It is hard to generate the energy to practice something over and over again. I easily fool myself into believing that I have done enough to perform my best when I have not.

It is important that I establish a consistent routine. I can’t trust my instincts that say:

“Don’t worry man you got this.”

It’s a lie. I need to rehearse my routine a certain number of times, so I won’t be winging it when I get on stage.

Establish a Routine

There are times when your mind will tell you that everything is cool, you have nothing to worry about, but your mind is wrong. It’s deceit to excuse inaction. This can happen with a new exercise regimen, a diet, a homework assignment, or  a project for work. In order to avoid falling for these traps, establish a routine.

  1. Look back on the successful days and look at what you did? Write down everything that seems relevant. If you exercised for a week, what did you do the day before? The day of? What exercises? What about these things made you successful?
  2. Pick out one or two of those things that you did before and incorporate them into your preparation.
  3. If you still aren’t sticking with it, try something else.