I had some interviews today. In the first one, I was asked a question to which I knew the answer, but the words weren’t quite there. I felt myself looping on, thinking of the answer, and then being frustrated. Time passed, and I couldn’t put my thoughts into words. Somewhere deep in my knowledge I knew how to respond, but in the moment I couldn’t answer. Overall, the interviews went fine. If I were hiring me, I would be a strong candidate overall. But this one interview got to me. Why couldn’t I answer?

Knowing is different than doing. Doing is a performance where you communicate/demonstrate what you know. I had to perform in the interview so that the other person could assess what I learned. Historically, this has been a source of great stress for me and is the source of stress for probably most humans on planet Earth. I am not sure exactly what the cause of this loop is, but I have to imagine taking innumerable tests in school did not help. Day in and day out, students are assessed on how well they can comprehend what was being discussed in class. If you want to “do well,” you _must_ perform, and failing to means a lower grade.

In high school, it started to occur to me that it was illogical to stress before a test. Instead of trying to cram before tests, I adopted the mindset of just going with it. Suppose I didn’t know the information; reading through the book 5 minutes before the test wouldn’t help me. If I got a bad grade, so be it. Understanding this was life-changing because it was one less thing that I had to spend the week/month leading up to the test worrying about. I started to emphasize reading and understanding what was assigned to me more and gave less of a fuck about the tests, and it worked for me.

I got lucky to have gone to the school that I did. I had a few less-than-favorable classes where I would have no problem cheating (bad vibes bring bad vibes), but most were great. Being able to separate the tests from learning and understanding made everything better. I didn’t have exceptional grades, but I didn’t have bad ones; I was simply happy with my ability to learn.

All of this is to say that when it comes to performing, turn your brain off. Trust in your ability to perform; if you get bad vibes about your performance, use that to fuel your next attempt. Work the hours, learn more, and be driven by your passion. Performances are grounding and give you a pleasantly sharp pang of reality; use it to your advantage.