It was when I was in fifth grade that I was given a drum set. My loving parents let me keep it and never once did they complain about the noise, let alone my complete lack of rhythm.
By the time I was in high school I was practicing hours a day. I was in several bands during high school, college, and into my late 20s. Many of those bands recorded some albums — some of them we recorded in the basement, others in a studio. I played at local shows where just a dozen kids were there, and at big conferences with 15,000 in the crowd.
Somewhere along the way I stopped being nervous. I stopped doubting my skills as a drummer; I had confidence. Though my fears didn’t go away altogether, I was the one in control of my nerves (rather than the other way around).
In his book, The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday writes about the importance of being able to control your emotions when in the midst of a stressful situation.
“Uncertainty and fear are relieved by authority,” Ryan writes.
It is through training, practice, and expertise that we gain authority.
With enough experience you can increase your tolerance for fear, doubt, and uncertainty.
The fear never fully goes away. And that’s a good thing. Fear can serve as a mile marker, letting you know you’re on the path to doing something worthwhile and valuable.
But don’t let the fear or doubt dictate your choices in the moment. Don’t forget your wits and your calm when you hit that wall.
When we aim high, pressure and stress obligingly come along for the ride… The risk of being overwhelmed is always there.
In these situations, talent is not the most sought-after characteristic. Grace and poise are, because these two attributes precede the opportunity to deploy any other skill.