Thursday, September 12, 2013

On Habits, Breakthroughs, Practice, and Consciousness...

Pep talk time...

I see this happen all the time in the studio: we see a problem, identify a plan to fix it, consciously try something different, a breakthrough happens, and a moment of clarity is experienced. Victory! For the singer working to improve their technical abilities, it's a truly joyful experience - a window into a realm of greater possibilities... What follows the breakthrough is the really important stuff! It can either turn that breakthrough into something useful, or send it into a pit of self doubt.

What if we take a step back, and see the breakthrough as just the seed of a new habit or skill? We can frame the breakthrough not as a destination, but as a trail marker on the journey through your process. That seed takes conscious care, implementation, and practice to cultivate it into something useful and durable. Doing the work "behind the scenes", when nobody is watching, is vital to building consciousness and confidence with your new tools. You can observe and control what you do very clearly in your own laboratory/studio/workshop, and bring your findings into practice at your next lesson, rehearsal, performance, etc.

An unpracticed breakthrough can build into its own struggle, and has the added dimension of shame attached to it - since the person not practicing the breakthrough is at fault for their own lack of progress. That shame element makes the breakthrough itself seem more and more distant and unattainable the longer it is unpracticed.

Change is possible, though! It doesn't have to be overwhelming. Achieving your goals requires building and nurturing of good habits. This is done over time, in small and manageable ways.

Let me break it down for you...

Relying on a useless habit/Unconsciousness = No progress.

Identifying a useful solution, and consciously implementing it = Breakthrough.

Conscious work/practice/cultivation = Building a new, useful habit.

This concept fits in so many other areas: fitness, communication, productivity, relationships, and so on... It seems so obvious, yet it's saddening to see how little this positive consciousness is used. Most of us truly ARE creatures of habit. Why not build and nurture good habits? Sure it'll take some work, but that's where the magic happens.

Here's to cultivating new habits, and being empowered toward your goals!