KILL LAZINESS WITH DESIRE
A question we are asked often is “How do I stay motivated?”. And having a lack of motivation is something we have all faced before no matter how much we love our craft. But you don’t get to Carnegie Hall by being lazy.
There are different levels of being a performer. For some of you, being lazy, not practicing that much, and just learning enough to have fun in your ensemble is all you need. And if the goal isn’t to be the best in the world, (and there is nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want!) you don’t even need to keep reading this. But for those who are really trying to perfect your craft, and truly the the best version of yourself, here is some advice to kill laziness and keep pushing towards your goals.
Whether you’re lazy, tired, or simply overwhelmed with everything going on in your life, if you don’t put in the work, you won’t reach your goals. But doing the work is really difficult when you don’t feel like working. If you find yourself feeling this way, it’s probably not because you’re lazy, but because there is something about what you’re doing that isn’t right anymore. Here are some reasons that might be causing you to feel unmotivated:
- You’ve been doing this so long you forgot why you started
- You have genuinely been practicing, but don’t seem to be getting better anymore
- You’re overwhelmed. You have so much going on that you don’t want to do anything
- You just started and feel like no matter how hard you try, you’ll never make it to where you want to go
- You don’t have fun doing this anymore. Practicing is now a chore
- You have far exceeded your expectations and nothing is challenging any more
The list goes on, but these are some of the most common things we hear from students throughout the season. These situations can definitely stop you from reaching your goals, but if you’re aware of them and know how to trouble shoot your attitude, you can get through them and move forward a better, stronger person and performer.
Here are some tips on how to get past these progress barriers:
1 - You’ve been doing this so long you forgot why you started
MAKE A MOTIVATION BOARD - You have to determine your “WHY” and make sure that is in front of you every single day. WHY did you start this journey? What was the spark that made you say “I don’t care what it takes, I’m going to make this happen!” Find that thing that gets you fired up and PRINT IT OUT! Make a Motivation Board and get it up on the wall of your bedroom. That way you have a constant reminder of why you started and where you want to be in the end. It is a reminder that even though it sucks now, taking that step towards the practice room is another step closer to making your dreams become a reality.
2 - You have genuinely been practicing, but don’t seem to be getting better anymore
FIND A METHOD THAT WORKS - You might be practicing for hours, but you don’t actually know HOW to practice, so you’re not doing any type of progressive process. In this case, do your best to find someone who knows how to practice and get their advice. This can either be from talking to someone who has already accomplished the goals you want to accomplish, finding a resource online, or taking private lessons with an expert in your field.
3 - You’re overwhelmed. You have so much going on that you don’t want to do anything
SAY NO TO SOMETHING ELSE SO YOU CAN SAY YES TO GETTING BETTER - Whether you think you can actually “Do It All” or you didn’t realize how much you had on your plate until now, it is best to put as much energy into the smallest amount of things possible. So take a look at what you ACTUALLY do on a week to week basis and determine what you will have to cut out of your life to make more time for practicing.
For some people this will be easy, but for others who are invested in a lot of things, you’ll really have to do some soul searching to make a realistic schedule. You have to be willing to say NO to some things so you can say YES to #GettingBetter. We believe it is healthy to hang with friends and have a social life, but for some of you, there is not enough time spent working on yourself. If want you to be a player in the game of elite performers, you will have to make a choice that greatness is a priority in your life. (At least for now.)
4 - You just started and feel like no matter how hard you try, you’ll never make it to where you want to go
WHETHER YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN, OR BELIEVE YOU CAN’T YOU’RE PROBABLY RIGHT - This mentality is usually connected to a fear of failure. The end goal seems so far away that you have no tangible reference to connect with. And the only thing you have experienced so far is being terrible at what you do. But the people you idolize started the EXACT SAME WAY. The difference is they had the courage to stick with it, put in the work, endure MANY failures, and eventually they reached their goals. So the advice here is to TRUST that you will make it eventually, and be so undeniably PERSISTENT that you have no other option than to be successful.
5 - You don’t have fun doing this anymore. Practicing is now a chore
IT’S NOT ALWAYS FUN, BUT IT’S ALWAYS WORTH IT - Sometimes you just have to do the work that needs to be done, even when you don’t feel like it! There will be times when yes, practicing will feel like a chore, but if you can find ways to make practice fun, that is when you become more motivated. So practice to your favorite songs, drum with friends, find a new location, whatever it is you have to do to find fun within the process do it. And remember, getting better (even in small doses) is the most fun because it is the only thing actually bringing you closer to your goals.
6 - You have far exceeded your expectations and nothing is challenging any more
YOU’RE THE BEST IN THE WORLD UNTIL YOU REALIZE YOU ACTUALLY SUCK - This happens a lot with people who have been playing for a long time. You have played all the things, you have posted all the videos, got all the likes, maybe you have even marched a top 12 ensemble, and you’re feeling really good about what you can do, but now you’re bored. But are you really as great as you think? Or are you just living comfortably being slightly better than your peers? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help dig deeper into your performance:
Are there things you don’t practice often because you’re not good at them?
Do you only play things you’re comfortable with?
Is every rep perfect? Or more around 7 out of 10?
Can you play everything at peak performance the first rep every time?
Are you avoiding critique from people you know will tear apart your playing?
Do you shy away from things that make you uncomfortable? Perhaps saying something like “I could do that if I practiced, but I don’t really need to, so I’m good.”
What you will find when you raise your standard and put yourself under a bigger microscope is that you’re not as undeniable as you think. And especially as an advanced performer it is important to humble yourself periodically along the journey to make sure you always progress. We like to say “Always Be Learning” or “Always A Student” as a way to not only approach music, but to approach life.
And who knows, maybe it is time to take a break, or find another activity to master. That is totally ok too, but you have to make that decision for yourself. (Don’t forget, Michael Jordan was also a famous Baseball player.)
Something all of these have in common is the desire to get better. If you have a goal, no matter what is holding you back, use your desire to reach the end goal as a driver for growth. Be self aware, look at what you’re ACTUALLY DOING vs what you think you’re doing and keep moving forward. Because at the end of the day, YOU are the only one who has the power to manifest the life you want to live.
The choice is yours. What are you going to do about it?
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