I recently had an experience where I subbed on a gig and didn’t do well. The majority of the things that contributed to this were way out of my control, but there was one variable that was totally on me.
There was a weakness in my own playing that had nothing to do with the gig itself and everything to do with me and it was really magnified on this gig. I’ve known about this weakness for awhile but it had never been a significant problem. Always hovering below the surface, barely noticed until that night. Thus I hadn’t given it the proper attention and the performance wasn’t as good as it should have been.
In the grand scheme of things it went alright. No one got hurt, the audience had a good time and although the band I was subbing for wasn’t exactly happy, no one took any kind of damage. However “no one got hurt” is a low standard and I do my best not to deal in low standards. It just should have been better.
Of course I had the option to shrug it off my shoulders or blame my shortcoming on someone else but instead I chose self-reflection. For the next two days I spent a significant amount of time playing the events over and over in my head, searching deeply to find everything I could have done better. Every time I was driving, every time I had down time, every time I was to myself I was reliving every moment.
This was good for me. It helped me discover that most of it really was out of my control which was a bit of a comfort. But it also pointed me back to that weakness of mine over and over without any mercy. Thus I made a decision and I’ve made a mantra out of that decision.
That can never happen again. That weakness can never interfere with my playing again.
Every practice session I’ve had has revolved around hitting that weakness from as many angles as I can and I’m seeing humongous progress. Progress that should have been made a long time ago, but I’m making up for it now.
“That can never happen again” is making me grow and stay focused and hungry for growth in the important things. Soon I’ll be able to say with confidence “That will never happen again.”
It might be that there’s something in your past playing experiences that should never happen again. If we’re striving to be great, those kinds of things should only happen once right?
If you’ve got work to do to insure whatever that is will never happen again, I just want to encourage you to get on it today. There’s no sense in making up for lost time later when you can start now, my friend.