Sunday, September 20, 2009

Suspending disbelief

On Friday evening we had another performance with our band "No Room For Jell-o". This time we played at the local coffee shop Fuel in Great Barrington. It's a cute place where most of our band spends lots of time during the week. For Mark it's even a virtual office! So, when we got invited to play, we were very excited and honored!

For new readers: this whole band thing is quite new. Pete, Mark and I started jamming in April; we met Butch in May just before our first performance. We got together because of the fun we have playing together and the inspiration we provide each other to learn and create more music. Our band is built on the "we want to play together" principle!

As a band we are clearly in a growth stage. We are learning. We are developing. It's an amazing experience. I learn so much. It's one big opportunity for me to build passion and persistence by letting go of unhappiness fueling beliefs that hold me back from growing and learning.

One off my big challenges so far has been listening to recordings of our performances. I listen back to all our band sessions and performances. The idea is that I will hear what goes great, what goes well and what requires more focus and attention. I also use it as a reality check, especially after the performances, because what you hear on stage can be so different than what the public hears.

So, what has been challenging about this? Instead of using the recordings as a useful tool, I use them as a stick to beat the hell out of myself: "I sang awful", "How did people survive this (my singing)" and "Why do I believe I can be a singer in a band, listen to myself!"

Unhappiness fueling beliefs
I have been taught that I can look at these judgments and look at the underlying beliefs. For me it seems that the following is fueling my unhappy thoughts: “I am not a singer, and I will never, ever be a singer”

These two beliefs say that I am doing something that I should not be doing (do not sing, you are no singer) and stop me from working to become a singer (I will never, ever be a singer). I am not only judging myself in the present, but I am also killing any inspiration to learn and grow.

Suspending disbelief
When I really understood that this was what I was doing, rather than convincing myself that I am a great singer or that I will become a great singer, I simply decided to suspend disbelief. I don't know if I can become a great singer, because I've never tried!  But I also don't know that I can't become a great singer.  So, I just tossed out the negative beliefs. If I want to become a better singer, I have to trust that it will happen with practice. So, I created a program for myself in which I practice every day.

Yesterday I listened back to the recordings of Friday night and guess what? I loved it! I didn't scare the customers away! I gave a performance that was very sweet and lovely to listen to.

Are there things to improve? Ohh yeah. I can make up thousands. Did I judge myself? I did for half an hour on Saturday afternoon, until I decided again to suspend disbelief and to instead believe that I am a good singer and I can become a great singer with practice!

In what area of your life do judgments hold you back? How could you suspend disbelief in those situations?

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