Am I Tough Enough ?
Emmanuel was now at a higher level of difficulty in his piano studies. It was nothing for him to sit at the piano practicing for hours everyday. As time passed and the composers' compositions , became more complicated, more difficult, it required more effort both mentally and physically.
He had to analyze the music trying to figure out what the composer was trying to say both emotionally and figuratively.
Much more was demanded of all of his facilities now. Attention to detail was the new mantra.
As the difficulty of the music increased, so did the amount of time that Emmanuel spent practicing increase. By now he was spending two hours a day at the piano. To the layman, his practice regimen seemed effortless, but in reality he was expending a tremendous amount of energy during his practice time, just as much as any elite athlete. There were a several times when he would have to wipe the sweat from his brow.
One Saturday afternoon Emanuel's mother had dispatched him on a shopping errand to the corner grocery store. On the way back home Emmanuel ran into Mr. Johnstone, his neighbour from across the road.
" Hi there Emmanuel, how are things going?"
"Oh everything is fine, Mr. Johnstone. Things are going well at school. I may be up for a scholarship this year at school, and my blues band, Modern Science, is playing a lot of gigs around town."
" Speaking about music," said Mr. Johnstone, " It seems like every time I pass your house... it could be when I'm walking to the bus stop on my way to work at seven every morning, or coming home in the evening, even when I'm out in the yard doing chores on the weekend...I see you through the picture window in your living room. There you are. You always seems to be sitting at the piano, practicing away. I'm always saying to my wife, ' Man! I don't know where that kid gets all of his energy to practice like he does. Seems like he's always at it.’
How do you do it Emmanuel? "
Mr Johnstone paused for a short moment as if to watch Emanuel's reaction to what he has just said, before he continued. " When I sit at my desk in the office at work, I always have get up regularly to stretch out my aching back and legs, and air out my head, and I'm not half even as busy as you seem to be, so involved, so deep in concentration. Sometimes, if the sun is shining in at the right angle, I can see a real intense look of determination in your face. How do you do it?"
"Well Mr. Johnstone, "said Emmanuel, after having waited patiently for his turn to reply," it's not as easy as it looks. I've got a lot of mental an physical stamina because I keep myself in good physical condition. I run six kilometres every other day. On the off days I work out in the gym.
and of course I my mom makes sure I eat three well great meals everyday.
If I don't keep myself physically fit, I find that I don't have enough energy to do all the things I need to do in the day.
If I come down with the flu or a cold, forget it! I can hardy sit up straight at the piano, let alone move my fingers. Playing the piano at my level takes a lot of energy. That's why I always make sure that I get 8-10 hours of sleep every night."
"What ! Ten hours of sleep ?" cried Mr. Johnstone, in disbelief. "I wish I the luxury of sleeping that much every night."
Noting the surprise and veiled admonition in Mr. Johnstone's voice, Emmanuel replied,
" Do you know that it's a proven fact that athletes need much more sleep,than regular people. Do you know that rest for an athlete is just as important as exercise?
In their quest to be the fastest, smartest, strongest, the best in their sport, athletes tax their minds and bodies at a far higher level of intensity than regular the regular population.We demand three, or four times as much from our bodies and minds as most people do. That, Mr. Johnstone, is why I need more sleep than the average person. I'm doing double duty as both a pianist and athlete.
The Victor by C.W. Longenecker
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.
The Take Away
Through years of experience, trial and error, Emmanuel learned that his musical goals were no different than those of any world-class athlete's. He realized that it takes the same energy, strength, stamina that elite athletes needed in their quest for success, to achieve his own goals. He applies this philosophy to all of his life's goals, regardless of their nature.
Professional coaches would say that Emmanuel has a lot of mental toughness, which is in itself, the difference between success and failure. Most people overlook mental aspects when faced with situations that require an enhanced level of performance, effort, or ability. Mental toughness is a term that's used in sport psychology. Sport psychology is a science that employs kinesiology and psychology, in the study of how psychological factors affect performance and how participation in sport and exercise are affected by psychological and physical factors. The same strategies that sport psychologists teach athletes, such as relaxation techniques, visualization, are valuable in any environment where humans endeavour to achieve success.
Because of the highly competitive nature of business today, corporations who consider themselves to be on the cutting edge, think of themselves as winning teams, and as a result, they are employing psychologists to work with their employees as the company endures endless amounts of stress and tribulation. The stress of trying to increase productivity while lowering costs; the stress of working on projects for extended periods of time; the stress of synchronizing employees' individual goals with the company's group's goals.
In the stratosphere of competition, it's mental toughness that determines which individuals fall apart under pressure. Mental toughness is the stuff that allows winners to rebound after defeat or personal failure.
Just like a determined world class athlete, Emmanuel has developed, implemented and continues to maintain the concept of mental toughness throughout his personal life.
Achieving success in any situation means going far beyond pure physical talent. You have to tap into the ‘psychology of winning’ by using an arsenal of many different mental ingredients. In the world of the professionals from all walks of life, 85-90% of the game is mental.