My approach to teaching is to ask strategic questions in order to inspire thoughts about their intention and attention in their past, present, and future.
My purpose is to help others to understand how to understand themselves.
This is not a test.
Regardless of what knowledge is being provided, learning is done through our own thoughts.
For you to learn the most, you must ponder things on your own. You must consider other ideas. You must trust your own thinking process enough to look for, and see progress, however minuscule the progress might seem in the moment.
...but this is not a test.
Once you've decided you're going to go for it, the test is over. The only test is whether you're going to stick to it and figure it out.
If I thought I was being tested in my auditions that I won, I'd have played it very safe and definitely not won the auditions. If I thought I was being tested during my audition for my professorship here at Indiana University, I'd not have felt worthy of the test. I don't have my Bachelor's degree so by definition, I'd already "failed". And then there's getting married and having a child...tests? Well, ok...maybe these can feel like tests sometimes, ha! ...but they're NOT! A loving partner wants to be a team and thrive in love and in life...together! A child wants the same. They're testing their own boundaries, sure, but our job...our opportunity is to guide them through it.
I was teaching a wonderful freshman student yesterday, and he played some Mozart for me. One of the moments could have sounded closer to that hirable version we both wanted to hear, and I thought that a certain exercise I've been obsessing about would solve the issue. I asked him if he'd been doing the exercise, and he looked like he felt a little guilty but he said yes. Then I asked him to show me how he's been doing the exercise.
In that moment, I saw in his face a destructive choice I'd seen countless other students make. I said the magical words:
"This is not a test."
He laughed, and with relief said, "Ahhhh, ok cool."
I explained that I wasn't checking into how he was doing what I told him to do. I wasn't trying to catch him in a lie. I wasn't testing him to see how well he followed my directions. I don't care about any of that. Those are boring discoveries, and those would only serve me. Mind games are juvenile and are only useful when they get us into our greater self.
I told him that all I want is to sit next to him, and work in the same direction together and get him to where he wants to go. My intention and attention is aimed on being a team, blazing forward toward crazy awesome dreams.
I said, "Keep it simple. When you're asked things like this, try to hear the request as stated. Answer the question or perform the exercise as well as possible, and that's it. Then we can look at that, and find ways to improve on that."
Task for the Day - Don't Test Yourself
Just be your best. See the BEST intent of every question today. If you don't know the answer right away, sit in silence and think a bit longer than you would have yesterday. Give yourself the permission and self-respect to ponder...to sit comfortably in silence and think.
If you're performing something for a friend or your teacher, just give it your best purely for the experience of performing your best. It will be what it will be, because of the quality of your learning and training...but you might surprise yourself and perform closer to your best...
On way to your clear mind is to insist on believing:
This is not a test.
When you experience letting go of your decisions to test yourself, you can stay more present in your own special unique important intention and attention. You can stand strong and share what ya got! By doing this, you can EXPERIENCE a Fearless Performance by simply performing because you want to, and someone is listening.
You must do this for yourself. You GET to do this for yourself...because it's not all about getting hired, impressing anyone, or making sure to pass the test.
Sometimes, we can experience performing for the sake of performing.
This is not a test. It's an opportunity.
Stay fearless my friends,