Thursday, September 24, 2015

Recovering gracefully

So I came a story the other day: 

Erin Hazler was used to running in the back of the pack, but this race was different.

She struggled for most of the Indianapolis 15K, and when she rounded the last turn, she recalled, she saw to her horror that she'd taken so long that the awards ceremony had already begun — a few feet from the finish line. Just when she thought the embarrassment couldn't get any worse, one of her friends started screaming her name. Her other friends took up the cry, raising their arms to form a victory arch for her to run through.

"You must have a lot of fans," the announcer said gamely, and dozens of people turned to Hazler, waiting for her to say something — anything — in reply.

"Take that, fast people!" she screamed in jest, and the crowd erupted in laughter.

Now I've talked a LOT in my blog about failing, about growing because of failure, and how fear of failure is worse than failure itself.  Ok, but what do you do WHEN you fail?  Notice I said when, and not if...  ;)

Maybe you drop a bachi - maybe you break one!  Maybe you have a set solo and clearly get off.  Maybe you fall down!  They've all happened to me and I've seen them happen to others.

Honestly, I think the only way you get better at dealing with a fail is through experience in failing, but it's not like you build up a tolerance per se.  Instead, you're able to keep calm and make more thoughtful or rational decisions, which might translate to the audience as quick thinking.

One thing you can do while you wait for your next fail is mentally go through the steps of what you'd do when it does.  So you're soloing and one of your bachi explodes into a cloud of microscopic wood particles.  Atoms.  How will you solo with just one bachi?  No, really, think about it - do you just do your normal soloing and pretend?  Do you put one hand behind your back?  Do you start doing more movements with your now-free hand?

Or let's say it's something really unlikely but possible, such as your naname drum falling off the stand and being flat/horizontal on the stage.  Maybe you scramble to lift the drum back up on the stand - nothing wrong with that.  But maybe you kneel and play the drum as it is, not trying to hide the fact that something terrible just happened, and instead embracing the situation as best you can (putting it back up after your solo is over, haha).

And finally, the biggest factor that will help or hinder you is your mindset.  Are you the type to panic at the thought of dropping your bachi?  Are you going to freak out when the lights go out on stage?  Will you grimace when you realize you have two different bachi to play your piece with?

Lemons from lemonade!

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