Why do we fail as performers: Pride

August 12, 20131

Pride – it is one of those things that we do not like to talk about in any setting. The only time that it is ever brought up is when...

Pride – it is one of those things that we do not like to talk about in any setting. The only time that it is ever brought up is when we do not feel that someone is behaving improperly – “he has such an ego” etc. etc. But at the end of the day – we all have pride and it becomes our undoing. Like it or not pride can be the root of bad performances, you might think “but I messed up because I was afraid of the audience.” But why were you afraid of the audience?

So why were you afraid of your audience? ………

We are afraid of our audience because we want them to like us. We then convince ourselves that they will not like us and work ourselves up sometimes even questioning why we are on stage to begin with. Then we tell ourselves, we need to get off stage as quickly as possible. But then the audience has no chance to like us, our art is then driven by the need of people liking what we do, rather than trying to create something that is real. So if we are driven by the want of being liked, then are we creating anything real? Or is it just a want to have our ego patted?

But think about a performance you really enjoyed – did the performer care if you enjoyed his/her performance or was he more concerned about what he was explaining to you. He or she was enjoying his/her work so much that you were engulfed into his/her world. Recently, one of my students sent me this performance Bruno Mars gave: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkuoRGig4Cs&feature=youtu.be  When I watch it, I feel that Bruno is reliving when he had his heart broken. Then as I’m drawn into this world, I am reminded of the time when my heart was broken and the connection is made. There is no time for him to worry if I will like his performance. Rather it is about the experience we are both having so we are both satisfied after. There is no room for ego to affect what he may think or not think his audience is thinking. Burno knows exactly what he is saying and how he is saying it.

I recently had a conversation with JoesphShore [http://www.josephshore.com] about this and he explained to me that when he sees someone smiling or frowning or crying, he is able to experience it as well because of something called mirror neurons. The mirror neurons enable us to feel what the others are feeling. You might remember I believe that a performance is a conversation, after talking to Joesph I am totally convinced that it is. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am connecting with my audience – they are feeling what I feeling. And in turn, I feel what they are feeling and the connection is made. We have all experienced this in one way or another. Remember when your sibling woke up grumpy and very soon you felt grumpy too? That was the mirror neurons at work, you were responding to your sibling’s emotions.

So then you ask – how can I conquer this ego? Ego is something that we all have to work on every day of life. Like anything in life, it is first of all recognizing that we have an issue with it and understanding that it the root of our insecurities. In a recent interview with Dann Wilhelm (President of the Fraser Valley Gilbert and Sullivan Society) for HelloVancity, he told me that “Preparation is extremely important. If you are confident that you know your stuff, then you have nothing to worry about.” [http://www.hellovancity.com/2013/07/19/getting-over-the-fear-of-performing-words-of-wisdom-from-vancouver-singeractor-dann-wilhelm/] So at the end of the day, it is about understanding that your ego will make you insecure but knowing with preparation you will be able to rise above it. Then you will be able to focus on your performance and enjoying what you are creating. That’s art!  


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