Thursday, April 21, 2016

Check Your Ego

You probably thought I was going to finish with ‘at the door’, but your ego is actually a very important part of who you are. So it might be productive to check your ego to see if it’s in good shape and functioning properly.

Ego can be thought of as just another word for self-esteem, and we know that’s important. Self-esteem is what gives you the courage, the confidence you need to make it through life. Confidence helps you ask for a try-out for a band you admire. It’s also what enables you to play your best.

But confidence can be a hindrance when it’s out of synch with reality. If you’re a terrific player but lack sufficient confidence, you may never play as well as you could, and you may never get to where you could have gone if you hadn’t been hindered by self-doubt.

We’re all familiar with the other extreme: too much confidence. At its mildest, it’s the guy who’s a bit too cocky about his playing.  At its worst, it’s the arrogant SOB that no one wants to be around.

In my experience, the relationship between an out-of-whack ego and technical capability is often inverse. The biggest egos I've met have usually turned out to be so-so players, whereas some of the best players around are also the most humble. (It would be interesting to work the ‘chicken or egg’ paradigm here.)

The best approach is to honestly assess where you are in your drumming development. You may want to get a wiser, perhaps older musician to help you with this. It can be a real confidence booster when someone tells you you’re doing better than you realize. However, it’s more difficult to have someone point out that your playing doesn’t live up to your ego. The good thing is that either type of feedback can make you stronger and a better player.

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