Thursday, January 29, 2015

Feeling superior

Comparing yourself to others can make you a stronger player.  You can observe weaknesses that you want to avoid, strengths you want to pick up, etc.  Where it gets dangerous is when you start feeling superior yourself to others as "I'm better because I'm more X than John."

Variations of this are "...because I'm more skilled than Joe" or "because I play more interesting rhythms than Jane", to "because I'm more Japanese than Tina" or "because I've been playing longer than Tim."

While comparing ourselves to others is human nature, as taiko players you're just begging for a rude awakening if you try to feel superior using this mindset.  I guarantee you that there is someone out there who is more "whatever" than you.  So why go there?

If I compare my worth to someone else by thinking "I'm worse than him because he can play faster patterns," then what happens when someone joins the group who can't play faster than me?  Am I suddenly better?  Of course not.  So why would I be worse before?  If you feel like you're better than someone because you're "more Japanese" and/or "more authentic" than them, what happens when you encounter someone who's even more of that (whatever the hell that even means) than you?

It's totally understandable to look at someone and make a comparison of skill based on what you see.  Being a single thing or having a few skills that are at a higher level than another is simply what it is.  However, judging your worth or others' worth based on them makes for self-sabotage in the short- and/or long-term.  Why do that to yourself?

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