Just because I have no aspirations to appear on ‘The Great British Bake off’ doesn’t mean I can’t make a perfectly good cake! Everyone will sit down and enjoy a slice and say ‘that was a lovely cake’…
…An extract from a discussion about outside interests. My version of that was taking up singing lessons. This was something I’d always wanted to do so that I could sing along with my favourite artists without cringing at the sound of my own voice.
A colleague enquired as to whether I would perform on stage at some point and my instinctive reply was “Why does everything have to be a performance?”
Their view was that if I’d spent time mastering a skill then it would be good to share it with others. Amazing how that puts a totally different slant on things. If I’d taken that suggestion seriously those lessons would have acquired an altogether different purpose and meaning.
My usual practice is to rock up and follow my tutors lead. Sometimes we’d be high fiving my brilliance; other times shaking our heads with tears of laughter at my abject attempt to reach the high notes.
Not so, if I think I have to perform. Now there’s pressure to improve and that involves being judged, evaluated and corrected. I would include ‘rewarded’ except I exceed the age limit for the ‘most improved student’ prize, apparently!
We are all bombarded with demands to improve our performance are we not? Throughout our lives we are faced with a stream of external pressures. The ones that are more dangerous here however, are the internal pressures we put on ourselves to perform to a high standard.
The friend who likes baking cakes takes pleasure from the enjoyment of those who eat it. He doesn’t worry they will mark him out of ten or refuse to come around anymore because his cake making is so bad.
So, the learning is to set the intention (and allow that to evolve as it may); without attributing extra significance to the experience. I will resume my singing lessons with the usual aplomb and if I choose to ‘perform’ in front of my friends it will be a spontaneous turn in the moment; surrounded by fun and laughter.
There’s no judgement here!