Here is a sneak peak from my upcoming book ‘LTR METHOD: Your Best Self Through Drumming’:
If you think there are consequences and risk, then it’s real, even if you’ve completely made it up. If there are no real consequences, I have to create them. Affirmations and visualization may or may not work, but I use those methods anyway to help me. Declaring my goals and vision to the world creates a pressure I invented. If it works to get the project done and helps push me to do the work daily, then I will gladly use this illusion. If it’s real or not but it creates some risk and consequences, does it matter? You can create all kinds of made of ways to bring a little pressure onto yourself, pushing you to perform at your peak. I have a friend that on performance game days where he needs to perform at a high level, he wears red socks. Is there any scientific evidence on the correlation of red rocks to performing at a high level? Not that I know of, but it works for him! Physics tells us the observer changes the thing being observed, so this power belongs to you. Your brain doesn’t know the difference of real risk and invested risk. When I went sky diving I had a very low risk of the chute not opening, but my brain definitely didn’t know that. Let me tell you, when I jumped out of that plane, I felt the risk and consequences! You don’t have to jump out of a plane, but it’s empowering to realize how your brain creates reality and how to manipulate this.
The way we feel about reality influences our behaviour, not reality itself. Reality is overrated! As long as it works it works, even if you don’t know why. I remember playing one of the worst gigs of my life in a rural bar, somewhere in the middle of a long tour Canada. The bar was a dive, it was underground and dark. As I looked out in the audience, I saw a girl and a guy making out with their backs facing us, and no one else. They didn’t care that we were there, and that was the entire audience. Being far away from home, giving all we had to take our music out in the world, these kinds of gigs can be absolutely soul crushing. I felt the life drain out of me. Why am I here, why am I bothering? I have a high standard I demand of myself, and to get there I had to imagine a scenario. First I thought, what if there’s someone in the shadows watching the show that I can’t see? This is a test of a real band, if they can perform at a high level with a bad crowd, or lack of one. This actually happened to The Police on their first tour. They played shows with about 3 or 4 disinterested people watching, but they played like their lives depended on it, with passion and fury. At one of these shows a record executive was in the back shadows watching them give 110% when they didn’t have to, and witnessing this energy and passion set them up wth their first record deal, and the rest is history. So when I was at my soul crushing gig, I imagined someone in the shadows that I couldn’t see. What if Tom Petty was hanging out in the back checking out the band? The next thing I imagined, was getting hit by a speeding truck as I left the show to go to the hotel. This may sound dark and depressing, but it lit a fire under me. If I really knew this was the last time I would ever play music on this earth, you better believe I would take care, play with every ounce of energy and emotion. I snapped out of the low place I had been, this ended up saving the show because I had changed ‘real’ life to an illusion that got us to where we needed to be, and paradoxically materialized a good performance out of me. You can control your perspective of things a lot more than you can control the real world. If you think pressure, consequence, and risk are real, then they’re real. Use your illusions.