The Mindset of a Successful Dancer, Part Two

September 20, 2016

Last week, we began exploring the mental landscape of a pro dancer, what keeps them focused and determined enough to overcome daunting obstacles. As you understand the principles they use daily, you can start to take advantage of them to achieve your own dance dreams.

We’ve created an excellent place to start, by clearing our minds of beliefs which hold us back, focusing instead on our ultimate goal - what we want to achieve through dance. This could be as lofty as becoming world champion, or as simple as knowing a few steps at your daughter’s wedding.

But how do we stay focused when we have a bad day, week, or month? In this article, we navigate three more tools successful dancers use to stay focused on their goals.

Fake It ’Til You Make It

Now that you’ve figured out what you want to do, have or be as a dancer, start acting the part! Imagine yourself as that confidently successful dancer you’ve always wanted to be. Use your imagination and ask yourself: how would this person move? How would they talk about themselves? How confident would they be?

By hot-wiring your brain to think like a successful dancer, you will draw success to yourself. Go into your classes with the mindset that nothing can stand in your way forever, and nothing will.

Watch your Thoughts

One of the sneakier ways our mind sabotages us is by focusing on the things we aren’t good at. It’s only natural that we want to improve our dancing, but if we only focus on what we aren’t doing well, our minds become used to feeling inadequate. And that can completely derail us.

Successful dancers aren’t just successful because they work hard - they also remember what they’ve accomplished, while keeping their thoughts from pulling them away from their goal. Watch for thoughts that are unnecessarily harsh or critical. Here’s some examples:

  1. Replace ‘I always screw this up!’ with ‘how can I do this differently?’
  2. Replace ‘I’ll never be a great dancer’ with ‘what did that mistake teach me about how to improve?’
  3. Replace ‘I can’t do this’ with ‘hm, this is taking longer than expected. Maybe I should schedule more practice time for myself.’

Be Patient

By applying the mental tools above, you are creating the preconditions for you to be successful. There are no guarantees when this will happen however, although people with less emotional baggage tend to progress more quickly. No matter what, we all have moments where it feels like we’re getting nowhere.

When this happens, remember to be kind to yourself. Think of how much progress you’ve made since you’ve started. Talk to your instructor about how you’re feeling to get their feedback. Try meditating for a bit and letting the negative thoughts drift away.

Most importantly, know that if you passionately pursue your dream, envisioning it as an inevitable part of the journey, while eliminating thoughts that distract and demoralize you, it cannot help but come to you. So be patient: Your dream is on it’s way.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.



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