I firmly stand by the belief that the only person standing between you and success is yourself. By that same token, though, you are the only person who can guarantee success for yourself. Obtaining a broad skillset not only within your trade but also in taking care of yourself and work ethic are essential elements of training, and a heightened self-awareness truly will propel each individual to the next level.
There are several things I know about myself and how I operate. On a superficial level, I need a cup of coffee or a diet coke before my mind is fully engaged (yes, I’m a complete caffeine addict), I write and arrange music late at night, the best products tending to be the ones I crank out after 12 AM, and if I have time to get a cardio workout in on the day of a performance, my energy level skyrockets and my nerves diminish.
Perhaps one of my greatest shortcomings that I’ve become exceedingly cognizant of is my inclination to save things for the last minute. In a series of very lucky trial-and-error experiences, I’ve found that my best work tends to be products of leaving things undone until it’s absolutely necessary to do them. I acknowledge that these have been nothing short of very lucky experiences, though. I’ve justified this to myself time and time again, saying “I work best under pressure” and “crunch time is when I’m the most creative,” but having several terrifying and negative struggles have revealed to me that there is absolutely no substitute for hard work and disciplined practice over time.
Beginning college means starting with virtually a blank slate and endless opportunities. I fully intend to take advantage of every chance I’m given, starting with making the most of the education I’m receiving, and I believe several things will help me to curb my bad habits and shape positive new ones.
First and foremost, I think that learning to space out projects and work at things over time will benefit me more than I can even foresee right now. Repetition of skills and knowledge will alleviate stress just before deadlines and lead to a far greater overall product. Instead of “learning for the test” or working at something just for a grade, I’ll be able to draw on skills and information for extended periods of time following the due date.
Challenging myself with various performance opportunities and publicly performed projects ideally will help me conquer my nerves, hone new skills, and expedite the educational process by establishing stakes in which I need to learn and actively work instead of just practicing for the sake of practicing.
I need to work on keeping up with a calendar. I have a horrible tendency to over-schedule, commit to too many projects at once, and end up burning the candle at both ends, getting sick, overly stressed, and in a position where something has to give. If I can be more aware of events from a long-term perspective, I’ll be able to devote myself to a few things and emerge with a far greater product than spreading myself too thin and having doing a mediocre job at many things.
Challenging myself to improve on these few simplistic things will ideally be beneficial not only in my education but also my overall wellness and mindset. I hope to think more positively and actively seek solutions thanks to several of these improvements.