The Zone : The Performance Zone
The Performance Zone
By Tom Evans
The great thing about performing live is that when it’s over, it’s over. There’s no need to do it again.
The worst thing about performing live is that when it’s over, it’s over and there’s no chance to do it again. We only get one shot at it.
So, faced with this predicament, one of the best ways we can ensure we never mess up, it not to put ourselves 'out there.’ This is evident when you look at the ratio of performers to watchers on the planet.
In a sports arena, you may have 20 to 40 performing, a few hundred support staff and tens of thousands of spectators. In a concert hall, you might see a group of 5 to 15 musicians or actors, with an audience in their hundreds or low thousands. There may of course be millions or even billions of faceless watchers on TV.
Even at a school play, a couple of handfuls of brave and aspiring children may be watched by 10 to 100 of their shy and retiring peers, along with doting parents recording the event for posterity and their child’s potential embarrassment later in life.
You can see that the bug for entering the performance zone is often caught early. What is also all too easily picked up early on is an aversion to be in the spotlight.
The key to being able to perform without effort lies with being confident about our our ability to shine. Somewhat ironically this means we stop acting and pretending so that the 'real us’ is seen out there. This congruency is something that the audience picks up on both consciously and unconsciously.
We just know when someone is performing at the top of their game. We know too when they are faking it or not giving 100%.
Being in this zone is not just about sports and stage performances, each one of us has to perform in some capacity every day. Whether we are performing at work or in our social life, exactly the same principles apply.
All activities are best approached with a desire to complete them. So say you are undertaking a mundane task you really don’t like, you could use your imagination to introduce some fun into it. An example might be to introduce an element of healthy competition, even if it is with yourself. Perhaps doing it faster or with more 'joie de vivre’ might help.
Being persistent when others give up will pay dividends in good time. Giving yourself an incentive here will undoubtedly help.
With training comes new learning and the ability to delegate tasks to our unconscious mind. Our conscious mind simply visualises the desired outcome.
When you put all of this together, you can almost sit back, relax and enjoy delivering your own performances with grace and ease. •
Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »