Everyone’s life is hard. There are obstacles paved for us. We all have demons to face. So the question is, how do we avoid spiraling into stress and anxiety when those times hit us?

The answer is simple: getting perspective. Too often we go about things with only one mindset. While you view your situation as “unfortunate”, someone else may be wishing to have the same opportunity as you do.

These past few months have been extremely stressful because I have an international piano competition coming up (that I voluntarily signed up for). There was a preliminary round which performers were chosen from and I thought, “I probably won’t be picked, which is good because then I won’t have to be stressed over it.” Nonetheless, I landed a place on the performers list.

I hadn’t practiced substantially in years, much less performed. I had no idea how I was going to practice for 2+ hours/day and play in front of a full crowd.

I could quit. I thought. I could drop out, and not risk the chance of humiliating myself.

For months I stressed over my stage fright and apprehension for the day August 12th. My biggest fear was freezing onstage, in front of my family and the judges. My mind was constantly going over all the things that could go wrong, and it stressed the hell out of me.

This went on and on until I decided to refresh my mind/get perspective.

I looked at the things that I do have, rather than the things that I don’t. I have a piano. I have functioning hands. I have no illness that would keep me from being able to play. Most of all, I have the opportunity to be able to perform.

It also wasn’t fair to myself that I was stressing out so much. If I have to go through hours of practicing and sore fingers, then I better enjoy myself in the time being.

Seriously though, you owe it to yourself to not spend all your time on the dark side of things. Constantly remind yourself of why you started and what the outcome may be.

So, when you find yourself in a situation that seems impossible to escape, stop pitying yourself and appreciate where you are.

Now I’m going to sit in front of my piano and practice for 2 hours until my fingers go numb.