Whether it is a professional athlete, an executive giving a speech, an interviewer who hosts a podcast, or a singer who sings on stage, every one of them encounters Nervousness.
Why? What is this concept of “nervousness?” From where does nervousness arise? And why does it come about?
The “scientists” create elegant charts highlighting a somewhat linear line between a certain degree of anxiety and performance.
Performers themselves say, “If you’re not nervous, then that means you don’t really care.”
“Sports psychologists” say that nervousness is completely “normal.” And that if you Weren’t nervous “there would be something wrong with you.”
These people are all fair-weather fans. They suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. If every performer vomited throughout the entire performance, they would say that “research has shown” that it is okay to continually vomit, so long as there are 4.2 minute-long gaps between each vomit. They would say that it is “normal” to vomit. They would say that if you didn’t vomit, “something would be wrong with you.”
Understand this: The overwhelming majority of human beings are not interested in The Truth. They are interested in justifying the status quo.
Wherever there is a demand, a supply is created. Therefore, the proliferation of such Status-Quo-Justifiers, these “coaches” and “scientists” and “psychologists”, is the direct result of the receptivity of individuals to such frivolous advice.
Not only do the professional athletes, executives, and performers Accept such pseudo-explanations, they begin to Parrot them. Thus, the birth of a version of Stockholm Syndrome.
And Stockholm Syndrome it is. For a man who believes such things remains forever Captive to them.
Rare is the Man who seeks Freedom. For he is content with a “scientific” explanation as to why Freedom is not possible. So long as there are charts and graphs and data points and useless power point lectures.
(By the way, why do people use power point for anything other than Photos? If you are going to read off the damn slide, why do I need you there? I know how to read just as well as you. Power point is a convenience for the speaker. And an insult to the audience. Next time you are in a “conference”, look at the number of people in the power point lecture and count how many of them are looking at their iphones. Now that’s something worth doing a “lecture” on.)
I’ve had these very issues presented to me from, for instance, a Hollywood actor who experienced extreme nervousness during auditions.
I don’t want you to look at this matter as me versus them. I don’t want you to look at this as my opinion versus theirs.
I want you to look at it from the standpoint of the Individual, whether he is a pro athlete or an executive or a performing artist.
What typically happens is that the individual says to his adviser that he is nervous. And the adviser gives him some brightly colored pill, or breathing technique, or “advice” as to why it’s okay to be nervous. And the individual says, “Okay. Thank you.”
But what if the individual was a rare sort of individual? And what if the conversation went like this?
“Dear adviser, I’m nervous.”
“No problem. Here’s a technique for dealing with the nervousness.”
“You don’t understand, adviser.”
“What don’t I understand?”
“I don’t want a technique. I don’t want to deal with it. I just don’t want to be nervous.”
“But it’s completely normal to be nervous. Even the best of the best are nervous.”
“I don’t care about the best of the best. And if they get nervous, then they don’t inspire me at all. Tell me where nervousness comes from. Tell me Why I’m nervous. Where does this nervousness Fundamentally come from, dear adviser. Tell me, damn it! This is why I hired you! Tell me Now!!!!”
“You’re nervous because you’re human. It’s normal.”
“That’s the best you’ve got? Do your clients buy this crap? How are you still in business? I’m nervous because I’m human? I’m human 24 hours a day. So according to your logic, I should be nervous 24 hours a day. But I’m not.”
“Just do this and I promise you you’ll deal with it better.”
“I already told you. I don’t want to deal with it. I want to know where it comes from.”
“It’s natural to be fearful. It’s fight or flight.”
“Fight or flight? Now you’re using buzzwords on me? Listen, adviser, I’ve read all about fight or flight. I’ve read all about the sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways of the peripheral nervous system. The synapse. The saltatory conduction. The release of noradrenaline. You want me to give you a power point lecture on it?”
“No I don’t.”
“Then stop giving me slogans and bumper stickers and pop psychology. Give me what I’m looking for! Why the hell am I nervous?”
“I don’t know! I can just try to help you deal with it. No one has ever asked me where it comes from. So why should I spend my time learning about that? There’s demand for the treatment. There’s no demand for the Why!”
“Dear adviser, those are the most truthful words you’ve ever said to me. Thank you. And Goodbye.”
Now That is the sort of individual I take on as a client. A Lion of a man. An Uncompromising seeker of Truth. But how many of these people do you think there are in the world?
Have I been nervous before? Yes. And I took it as a personal human failure. Regardless of the outcome.
Don’t try to ease my pain! Don’t give me words of comfort. It absolutely IS a personal failure.
After the times I felt nervous, I said to myself, “The fact that you are nervous means that there is something obviously wrong. Let’s figure out where this nervousness comes from.”
And I began to dive deep into the concept. Strand by strand. Nerve fiber by nerve fiber.
Why would I do that?
Because it simply wasn’t okay with me to be nervous! Anxiety is Not Okay!
Do I still get nervous? Yes, but far less. And largely with respect to my childrens’ performances in their sport. But this is absolutely poisonous to me. And I’ve been on a full force, unrelenting, 24-hour a day personal quest to Completely rid myself of this nervousness, no matter how “normal” it may sound to be nervous for your children because you want them to do well. I will perhaps write a discourse about this personal journey some day.
As for nervousness, this is what I discovered. I will deliver it to you succinctly. In a No-Nonsense fashion. What I am about to give to you is the True Starting Point.
Nervousness arises because You have something to gain from the transaction. If you have nothing to gain, you will not feel nervous.
Therefore, the Question is not “how do I stop being nervous?” or “how do I deal with the nervousness?”
The Great Question is this: “How can I be so sincere, so authentic, that I have everything to give, and nothing to gain?”
My friend, wherever there is Hope or Gain, there is Mind.
And wherever there is Offering, there is No-Mind.