No one has a life or career free from disappointment and failure. The overnight success of any musician, like the overnight success of any person in any field, is really a long story of repeatedly rising after a fall.
Optimism Sees Opportunity
Optimism is hopefulness and confidence in a positive outcome. So, how can one be optimistic when something has gone wrong? Refusing to acknowledge the failure doesn’t help – that’s not optimism, that’s delusion. An optimist accepts the failure, but instead of being mired down in useless negative thinking – Things never work out; I knew I wouldn’t get it; I’ll never live this down – they look for the lesson.
Optimism puts failure in perspective and sees it as an opportunity to do better next time. Your audition didn’t go as planned? Now you know what NOT to do next time. As Thomas Edison said when trying to invent the lightbulb, “I didn’t fail. I found 10,000 ways that do not work.”
To be optimistic, you must view failure not as a dead end, but instead as a T in the road – a place where you decide which way to go next on your route to eventual success.
View Failure as Inner Strength Training
Imagine we have two lab rats. One rat has always lived in a cozy little cage with a daily supply of cheese delivered directly to his bowl. The other rat has spent each day bumping into walls, turning around, trying to find a path to the cheese that is always hiding somewhere in the middle of an ever-changing maze.
Which rat ends up better prepared to deal with challenges? If we ran those two rats through an obstacle course, which would be most likely to win?
The one that hit the wall over and over again.
Failure teaches adaptability and resourcefulness. Easy success, being able to reach out and grab your cheese, actually reduces your chances for long term success. Why? Because you’ve been deprived of the opportunity to strengthen your resilience. When something changes, and things always change, you have no muscles to meet the challenge. Adversity and failure are the barbells of growth. Optimists sweat and suffer through adversity like everyone else, but they recognize that the strength they are gaining is going to get them closer to their goal.
The Power of Positive Pals
Optimism is a mindset. Often, if you want to change your mindset, you have to change your environment. Humans are social creatures – we tend to adopt the thinking of the people around us. If your group believes that there is no work for classical musicians, you’re likely to believe that as well, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. After all, people who have no work have nothing to teach you about how to find it.
If you believe that all the good gigs are taken, go hang out with people who took them. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people. The beauty is that optimistic, successful people are much more fun to spend time with than negative nay-sayers anyway. Optimists foster hope. Their forward momentum inspires enthusiasm, and their energy attracts people, opportunities, and ultimately, success.
So the next time something doesn’t go as planned, don’t be despondent. Look for the lesson, then rise, grow, and conquer.
If you are ready to take your performing career to the next level, check out Concert University and the free webinar that gives you 5 strategies for success. If you would like to hear the live discussion about this characteristic, head on over to ClassicJabber.com now.