Since we were kids we’ve been told to
We’ve been told to “Just Wait,” for a chocolate chip cookie, for a new toy we desperately want, for summer vacation to come.
Now, sometimes it’s important to just wait:
- For the light to turn green.
- For the corn to grow.
- To have that chocolate chip cookie.
But other times we tell ourselves to “Just Wait” because we think that somehow The Going Will Be More Perfect In The Future.
We say things to ourselves like:
I really want to sing, but I’m not good yet. So I will JUST WAIT a few months before I go sing karaoke.
Now if we spent the next few months singing everyday, or even once a week, this might be a logical approach.
But instead of practicing, we often spend those few months JUST WAITING:
- Waiting to feel better about our singing voice.
- Waiting to feel more confident about getting up in front of a crowd of strangers and singing.
- Waiting to find the perfect karaoke singing outfit.
- Waiting to find the perfect karaoke song to sing.
In these cases, we use “just waiting” as if it were a magic wand, as if the simple act of waiting will somehow miraculously:
- Make us more skilled about something we don’t currently feel good at.
- Make us feel more confident about something we currently are scared to do.
- Make our stars align and create the ABSOLUTE PERFECT circumstances.
We start to tell ourselves stories like this:
Wow, I’m so glad I just waited two months to sing karaoke. On the night I finally went, Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Billy Joel just happened to have decided to hang out at my local karaoke bar. I’m so glad I decided not to practice even once because I was absolutely fresh. I just got up to the mic and confidently belted out a pitch perfect version of “Piano Man.” After that, Billy Joel ran up to me with tears in his eyes and said, “WOW! I’m absolutely in love with your version of “Piano Man.” Can I pay you 10 million dollars to record a duet and go on tour with me? Then Katy Perry ran up and said, “I want you more. Here’s a check for 15 million.” After that Beyoncé and Lady Gaga ran up saying they would pay me 20 million and 25 million respectively if I would just agree to sing with them. Suddenly, I had an epic-star-studded-multi-million-dollar bidding war going on at the Dew Drop Inn. Who would have thought? I’m so glad I just waited two months and didn’t practice at all. I could have ruined everything.
Yes, “just waiting” can perform some truly epic magic in daydreams. Unfortunately, “Just Waiting” often doesn’t work nearly as well in really life.
Sure, the wild karaoke day dream that we fleshed out above “could happen.” Life is vast and full of miracles.
But infinitely more likely scenarios would be, we wait the two months without practicing…then
- We choose not go to the karaoke bar at all because we didn’t practice and thus feel no more confident than we did two months before.
- We force ourselves to go to the karaoke bar, but then convince ourselves to just watch, so that we can work up the courage to “do it next time.”
- We actually force ourselves to sign up for karaoke and then either:
- get up there, freeze and then sit back down
- get up there and do pretty well.
- get up there and flop
Instead of helping us feel more skilled and confident, “just waiting,” most often just makes us feel more stiff and out of practice.
If you want to sing karaoke:
- Go do it as soon as possible and ride the wave of excitement, spontaneity, natural skill, and beginners luck.
- Wait but don’t “just wait.” Use the time you are waiting to practice. Practice may not make perfect. But practice definitely does make better and more confident.
And lots of practice makes much better and much more confident.
Whereas, “Just Waiting” is a double edged sword, not only are you missing the opportunity to gain skills and confidence, but you are also depriving yourself of the joy of practicing the thing you want to do because you are “just waiting” to become at good it.
When we “just wait,” we can live in the perfection of our day dreams.
However, the perfection of our day dreams seldom does much for our singing voice.
We can “Just Wait” our lives away.
Our lives are too important for that nonsense.
Don’t fall for the “Just Waiting” trick!
The world needs your voice.