I’ve seen oodles of bands perform over the years in dark and dingy small clubs to soft seat theatres to hockey arenas. I’ve seen some of the world’s best and quite possibly the worst. I’ve also worked one-on-one with countless musicians and aside from sheer musical talent, one of the things that separates the good from the great is confidence.
When I think of bands without confidence, I think of shoegazers for example. You know, those bands who stand on stage and simply stare at their feet, too shy to truly connect with the audience. Too nervous to even look up and be ‘present’, for fear of being judged.
Think about it. Who’s more entertaining to watch on stage? Someone who has no confidence can be incredibly boring. In fact, you don’t even watch them, you end up watching the other guys.
So… is everyone in your band as confident, or more so, than you? Is everyone on the same page?
Confidence is perhaps one of the most compelling traits someone can have. It gives you a certain energy, an aura that’s hard to ignore. It’s a primal thing that runs deep within us and is impossible to escape. It’s rooted in our instincts, our ego, our emotions, our fears, our pride, our anxieties, our failures and our accomplishments.
Everything we do feeds it.
Having confidence in who you are and what you do is powerful. It changes everything. In fact, perhaps this is the mystical, magical Mojo itself. The secret sauce. That thing that sets the Rock Gods apart from the rest.
Having confidence in yourself not only makes you sexy and more appealing to the opposite sex, but it also elevates your perceived status among members of the same sex. Being confident will get you the girl, score you the gig, land you that job… in addition to making you kick some serious fucking ass on stage.
Yet if you’re overconfident and your swagger is unmerited, well then you’re just viewed as cocky and arrogant. Which is obviously not what you want. Stop that shit.
Confidence can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those without it may fail because they lack it, and those with it may succeed because they have it.
But consider this: If you don’t dwell on the negative shit, you can be more ‘self-confident’ because you worry far less about failure. And if you’re worrying less about failing, then you’re more likely to focus on the actual job at hand… which means more probable success. Kinda makes sense, huh?
Ok, real-world examples? How do you get over your fear of being on stage? Non-stop repetition. Gigging night after night after night.
How do you get over the anxiety of thinking a string might break during a live show? Practice. You need to know how to deal with a situation before you encounter it so that when it does arise it’s no big deal. Practice.
Being adequately prepared paves the way to self-confidence.
So aside from positive thinking what else can you to do to boost your confidence? Practice. Hard work. True grit. And lots of it.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”
Oddly enough, I’ve learned a lot about confidence from Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. It turns out that projecting confidence as a ‘pack leader’ is one of the best ways of earning respect from your dog, which has lasting positive results. Here’s some of his tips. For starters, just be aware of your confidence levels. Be bold. Carry yourself more proudly. Hold your head high with your shoulders pulled back. Walk tall. Look people in the eyes and speak with a strong voice and a firm handshake.
It’s a start.
Be sure to feed your mind with confidence building mantras. Be like an olympian who practices the race course in his mind over and over again.
Confidence could be the fine-tuning that you, your performance, your art and your career might need.
Know your shit. Rock that shit. And get it done.