We already found out that our self-confidence is about consciousness and self-awareness much. In this article, I will provide you couple of further suggestions of how to get deeper in your consciousness, particularly how to bring positive change. Searching for basis of our problems and their solution is much about words and our ability to define our states. Only when defined precisely, truly effective strategies of problem solving can follow. Therefore, suggested activities in this article will be about word definitions much. Let’s start!

  1. Generally:

Take a paper and pen. Split the paper to four columns. Write down the headings to your columns as written in the following table:

weak points, don’t like on myself, unfunctionalsynonymantonym, functionalhow to get to antonym? strategies of change, what can I do to make antonym from synonym?

In the first column, write down the words that define you weak points, behaviour, you does not serve you, your characteristics you do not like on yourself. Write spontaneously, do not think the words over for now. You can write just one word or many, if you feel to. Then choose just one and finish whole activity with only word. Do not try to manage all the words in one. Take less and go deeper! You will work with other words next time.

So choose just one word from your list you would like to work with now. First, try to create synonym to your word. This synonym should specify your first word better. This thinking about proper synonym helps us define, what we really mean by our words, to get closer to true content of ourselves, to understand true basis of our problem – what defines them, what makes them so problematic. Synonym also helps us find more precise antonym, which is exactly what you will do right now – find antonym to your word+synonym. 

Example: I write the word “laziness” to the first columns spontaneously. Then I start thinking about synonym. I HAVE to think, what does laziness mean in my life, when it occurs, how does it show in my day and why? I try to think deeply and find synonym. For me, this synonym would be “motivation loss”, because I am lazy when I have no motivation. If I were not thinking about the synonym, the antonym for laziness would be diligence. BUT, I usually am diligent, so my synonym helps me find stronger argument of what does not work for me. I need to find motivation. My antonym is motivation, but rather enthusiasm, bliss. 

In the last column, think about, what can you do to make antonym from “your word”? What would help, what do you have to change, what can you do for it? Write down everything you have in your mind. Then take some colored pen and mark the strategies you have already applied. Think about if they work or not and why – do you apply them regularly, consciously? Or they just don’t work? This over and choose an extra strategy from your column you have not tried yet. Then the most important part comes – how do you integrate this strategy, how will you work with it?

In my example with motivation loss, it is absolutely not enough to take my antonym = motivation, as a result. Yes, I need motivation, but it is not strategy, it is a fact. I need to figure out, HOW to create motivation that will work for me – this will be my strategy. So I think further: What makes me motivated? Why I feel demotivated now? Do I miss something in my work? Direction? Energy? According to my arguments, I then create strategy. For example:

  1. If I find out, that I miss direction, I need to create some goal to aim my daily work. If there are no concerts and public performances nowadays, I can choose some composition and plan myself deadline until I want to learn it. I can plan streaming of this work.
  2. If I lack motivation in daily practice, I can plan some small reward for every effective and successful practice (successful practice means that I fulfill my practice plan or I manage to play consciously all practice time). My reward can be watching movie in the evening, or some goodies 🙂
  3. I make my practice time pleasant to look forward to it. I create myself nice background, I clean my rook, burn a candle if the weather is cloudy, I start my practice with some of pleasant psychosomatic techniques, breathing or body scaning… and I also finish practice time with that. I make breaks often and integrate one day off in my week to make my head and body relaxed for further work.

This way, you can work with all the words from the first column – one by one. Do not continue to other word until the first problem is getting better. Do not overwhelm yourself!

2. While practicing:

Activity stays the same, just instead of writing general weak points, you focus more on your instrumental playing – what does not work in your playing, what do you need to improve, what aspects of your playing do you find unfunctional? The continue the same way – choose one word to work with, then write synonym and antonym. Try to be precise as much as you can. For example: You write down “bad intonation” spontaneously to the left column. For the synonym, you have to figure out more about this issue. What is exactly your problem with your intonation? Do you have problems in high positions? Do you have problems with certain harmonies, modes? Try to figure out and create synonym. Then the antonym will work better. In strategy column, write down all your ideas of how to improve that issue. Do not forget, that practice intonation to get better is not enough – how you will practice, what you will control – these are the tasks for you. Do not forget to think about all the systems included in playing – issue of bad intonation can be about your ears and lack cultivation of hearing, but also lack of concentration in present moment, insufficient knowledge of the composition, its musical progress leading to lack of idea which notes comes after each other, about their relationships. Problems can be caused by wrong hand possition… There are many reasons for our problems so do not forget to think over all the systems! The deeper you think, the better your strategy will be!

Then mark strategies you are already doing, think of how they work, if you use them properly or if you need to change strategy.

This exercise serves your deeper consciousness of more aspects of your instrumental playing:

  1. You consider better, what changes and strategies to apply to make issues improving. If I want to change something, I first have to know, what exactly I do not like and why, where does it come from, then consider how the opposite aspect looks like to find way of improvement.
  2. Self-consciousness, you better perceive, where you are and what you need, which is basic condition for any kind of improvement.

Do not forget to integrate always just one word – just one new change or strategy. Until some change will occur, do not continue to more words not to overwhelm yourself. It is more effective to proceed step by step than working on everything at the same time hardly. It usually causes fast end of our improvement…

Focus on this exercise sometimes and compare to your past training. How your attitude changed, did your problems changed to other or are there any that stays with you permanently? If there are problems that occur on you list permanently, consider change fo horu strategies and also consider if you have already made any improvement? Always include comparison of your previous and present states in particular issues and problems you solve. Always think in context! 🙂

SELF-CONFIDENCE II. Self-reflection as improvement strategy.

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