All posts by pbubwer

The Abuse That Kills Children’s (And Adult’s) Voices

I am addressing this for the sake of our children, for the sake of you adults, as well as society in general. In my previous article, I wrote about the tragic beliefs that prevent so many from living fulfilled lives. In fact, they prevent people from fulfilling some basic human needs.

As a parent, educator and coach, having personally coached hundreds of people (thousands probably) with belief systems that stem from subconscious traumas often formed in childhood, this deeply concerns me. When it still happens in our school systems through sheer ignorance, I find it even more disturbing.

To bring home this point, I will here use a real exchange with a human being – a woman named Gail. Ultimately, it's not about her, but about the common beliefs and tendencies she expresses.

She had publicly posted a comment directly in regards to what I do and offer. This time, instead of just ignoring it, I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to understand what drives someone to believe this, and why someone wants to post it publicly. It turned into a fascinating and frightening exploration of human ignorance and the subtle abuse of children.

Gail first wrote:

“You have to be born with a voice, just like a ball player has to be born with a pitching arm.”

Now, these nonsense comments are not new. In this case, anyone would understand that it is somewhat helpful to have a voice if you want to sing, and an arm if you want to pitch baseball. But, she obviously means more than that. So I decided to post this response:

“The good news is that most people are born with a voice, just as most people are born with an arm. Then the question is what we want to learn to do with what we were born with.“

She then responds:

“Of course everyone is born with a voice. I was talking about a GREAT voice. Or a great pitching arm. You have to be born with those talents. Everyone can't sing. That's a scam, saying that. Watching the video cannot turn a monotone into Whitney Houston. Don't be ridiculous. One has to have the pipes, has to be born with the voice."

Aha, so there we have it. She meant, and quite adamantly so, that one has to be born with a GREAT voice. But in order to do what exactly? Is she the one who is able to pinpoint who exactly it is of all newborns who has the “GREAT voice”? Perhaps she would like to be the one who labels those who don’t. So she concludes everyone can’t sing? Okay. So what? Not everyone can speak Swedish either. I have yet to hear an infant sing Ave Maria.

She mentions that watching a video cannot turn a “monotone” into Whitney Houston. Have I claimed this? (She is referring to the free video presentation at The Singing Zone.) If she had bothered to educate herself and do a little research, she would know that I am a proponent of training. Whitney Houston is, in fact, a great example of someone who was engrossed in training (i.e. singing, exploring her voice and expressing herself in song), as well as being exposed to great singers and mentors from when she was born.

But like we discussed in the previous article, I don't need to beat Roger Federer to enjoy playing tennis, so I wrote:

"The other good news is that you don't have to be Whitney Houston to enjoy singing, nor do you have to be the world's best pitcher to play baseball. Of course everyone can improve their singing, just like everyone can improve throwing a ball. The question is how to improve effectively. This training is for those who love to sing, and would love to engage in ways to effectively develop this wonderful form of expression."

She responds:

“That's true, but there are some monotones who will never sing. It is a scam to promise people they can learn to sing. That's false.”

So what on earth is a “monotone”? Who is Gail, and who is the child or adult that she wants to label “a monotone”?

I should add that I have never met someone who has the ability to utter a sound at only one frequency. Have you? Imagine every sound you make is exactly 440Hz. Wow, that would be pretty incredible. Our friend Gail does apparently not really know about music, frequencies or what the word “monotone” means. Nor does she evidently have any idea of what singing and singing training is, or what I do. Nor does she likely know what drove her internally to post this in the first place.

She obviously feels a need to express herself. She wants to feel important. She wants to be heard. We can all understand that. These are basic human needs. This is also why singing is one of the most empowering activities we can engage in, why every culture sings, and every infant "sings" - until they are shut down by people like Gail who tell the untrained, or the ones who don't measure up to Whitney Houston, to be quiet and call them "monotone".

You may have seen some of the many case stories, such as the video with James who was shut down all his life from a belief that came from a choir director once telling him that he would never be able to sing. But now, he is finally finding so much joy singing in the choir.

You might have heard the enlightening wisdom from Art Therapist Laura about the traumas of being silenced as a kid, and the important therapeutic benefits of releasing your voice – however good or bad the Gails of the world think you are

And Gail goes on:

“There are absolutely people who can never carry a tune. Ask any nursery school music teacher. We all have different skills in life. Not everyone can sing. You're making false promises, if you promise that.

Nursery school teacher? Now, that’s interesting. Is she herself a teacher? At a nursery school? And she believes that from having observed a child who doesn’t sing in tune, she now has the right to judge the child’s future abilities?

Has she really no understanding of the vast difference between an observed ability/skill in the moment, versus what a person is potentially capably of in the future.

Does this labeling only apply to singing and throwing a ball, or all other skills and abilities also?

So I wrote, admittedly quite harshly:

"Imagine the child entering Gail's nursery school who doesn't sing in tune and is told: "You will NEVER learn to sing". Imagine the child who misses the first attempt at shooting a basketball and is therefore told: "You will NEVER play basketball". Imagine the child who cannot write and is told: "You will NEVER learn to write". It is tragic that children every day are being abused like that."

Now, I call it abuse and that's a strong word. Many times what happens is not meant as abuse. It comes from loving people who just don’t know better.

When my son was in preschool we noticed a pattern that his teacher was often jokingly telling him “You never talk to me”. Several years later she would still repeat the same thing. And she was right. Why on earth would he want to talk to her after having received that label? Does she really believe putting a negative label on a child will make the child change? Of course not. Finally when he got another teacher, he would open up and communicate in a completely different way.

Does our friend Gail seriously think that the kid who feels she doesn’t sing well, is the kid who is going to go home and practice like crazy to overcome this difficulty – especially if she has come to believe there is something wrong with her, that she was never born with “the voice”? Especially since she has been told by her trusted teacher that she cannot possibly learn, and that anyone who tells you so is a fraud and a scam.

Is this child suddenly going to feel comfortable to sing out beautifully? Of course not. The fears and discomfort of “not being good enough” alone is enough to restrict the vibration, which makes singing on key extremely difficult.

Maybe the kid hasn’t been exposed to music, or she has never had the opportunity to experiment and explore her voice without being judged. Maybe he has been told to be quiet. Maybe the key the teacher picked doesn’t fit comfortably. Maybe there is a hearing problem. There are a numerous factors that can all be fixed. And there are always ways for someone to become better at a skill through effective strategies.

Yet, the ignorant teacher, who does no research and has evidently no interest in learning herself, prefers to simply label the child (and adult) as someone who is “not born with a voice”.

It’s also interesting that Gail refers to baseball – especially in the light of the fact that I have written extensively about sports, including my son’s baseball endeavors and his skills. I’ve written about when my son showed up on the baseball field at the age of 5 and astounded everyone with his “natural talent”. The reason I wrote that was exactly to help explain the enormous amount of training he had already been engaged in to develop the coordination and awareness of his body, eye sight, mental attitude to learning and performing, the mechanics of throwing, etc., that the uninformed unfortunately just want to call “natural”.

Now we could easily argue that I am abusing Gail, here. She will be invited to read this and I’m sure it won’t be pleasant. We can all understand and be compassionate since it is very possible that Gail is not aware of some traumas of her own that may have caused her to believe this. I frankly hope this will help her awaken.

As adults we do have the potential to reflect and make choices. We can choose to become even more hostile and go on the attack or we can choose to reflect and learn from hurtful events and our mistakes. Perhaps Gail would like to reflect on why it is that she likely has not developed her singing voice herself, or why she likely isn’t very good at throwing a ball.

Perhaps she would like to reflect on the fact that those who have learned how to acquire skills are also the ones who often willingly want to help others. Perhaps she wants to do some more research and think before calling the next educator and trainer a scam due to her own fears.

Now, she did write one final response to my last comment to defend herself. She wrote:

“I have never discouraged a child in my life. You do not know me. I will never tell an innocent child she can't do something. But holding out a false hope to an adult is a scam. Tell me you don't make money from this? I have never put down a kid in my life. I have great works of art all over my fridge from grammar school art projects. They are cute and beautiful. What were you thinking accusing me of putting down kids. You don't know that I worked, advocated for kids all my born days. I'm 72.”

So there we have it. She has never discouraged anyone. Except for the fact that she has publicly tried to discourage everyone who wasn’t “born with a GREAT voice”.

She will never tell an innocent child she can’t do something. The question is if that only applies to those who are “born with the talent”, or it would otherwise give them “false hope”. (Or maybe that was just for the adults.)

We have never doubted she has great artwork by kids on her fridge. The question is what happens to the art that by her is deemed not great.

It is not surprising that, as it turns out, she loves children and wants to protect them. Gail is probably a wonderful person in many ways who has done a lot of good in the world.

But this article is intended to encourage thought. I hope it encourages you, who may have come to believe in what you can or cannot do, to realize that it is perfectly fine to engage in activities, improving them, and enjoying them, without having to be judged as “great”.

I hope it encourages everybody to watch out for the tendency to label children, as well as label adults. They way you lead your life today is likely due to beliefs you have formed at an early age. Perhaps you have been hurt and ridiculed. Perhaps you have been labeled. And we should also understand that “you are a natural” is also a label that can cause just as much problems as “you are a monotone” with the heightened expectations that come with it.

To close, we should understand that hopes, goals, dreams and aspirations are very frightening for some. Many adults want to protect children by shutting down goals and aspirations out of fear of disappointment. They don’t realize that it is not the accomplishment of the dream and goal itself that is the reward, but it’s the journey that gives life a purpose. Yes, we understand that there are many out there who are afraid, and therefore don’t want to encourage “false hopes”.

Personally, I don’t provide hope. I provide training.

Per Bristow

P.S. Read the hundreds of comments, and feel free to comment yourself below.

FREE VIDEO Demonstrates Per Bristow's Revolutionary Method
That Has Freed and Empowered Voices In 132 Countries. 

Here's How YOU TOO Can Release Hidden Restrictions and Sing –
REALLY SING – With Confidence And Freedom!

I am addressing this for the sake of our children, for the sake of you adults, as well as society in general. In my previous article, I wrote about the tragic beliefs that prevent so many from living fulfilled lives. In fact, it prevents people from fulfilling some basic human needs. As a parent, educator and coach, having personally coached hundreds of people (thousands probably) with belief systems that stem from subconscious traumas often formed in childhood, this deeply concerns me. When it still happens in our school systems through sheer ignorance, I find it even more disturbing.

If you haven’t read the previous article, you might want to do so first. (By the way, thanks to all of you who made some wonderful insightful comments!)

To bring home this point I will here use a real exchange with a human being – a woman named Gail. Ultimately it i not about her, but about the common beliefs and tendencies.

She had posted publicly a comment directly in regards to what I do and offer. This time instead of just ignoring it, I wanted to dig deeper. I wanted to understand what drives someone to believe this, and why someone wants to post it publicly. It turned into a fascinating and frightening exploration of human ignorance and the subtle abuse of children.

Is It True People Believe This About Singing?

Is it really true? Please say it isn’t so. Help me out here.

Is it really true that people in this day and age believe this about singing? Here are some examples posted from people on Facebook:

“U can not teach anyone to sing! It is a gift!"

“If you aren't born singing, it is like art, you can't be taught.”

“If you can sing, you can. If you can’t, why pretend”

“You either have it or you don’t. No singing lessons will help you much”

Can it really be true that people really believe such nonsense? I'm afraid many really do. Far too many.

What makes people think developing their singing voice is any different from developing any other skill?

I’ve never heard anyone say “you either have it or you don’t” about playing tennis, playing guitar, writing, or cooking. Have what exactly? What is “it”?

See, if you are saying singing can’t be taught, you are also saying you cannot learn, develop, or improve at all.

Is it really true? Please say it isn’t so. Help me out here.

Is it really true that people in this day and age believe this about singing? Here are some examples posted from people on Facebook:

“U can not teach anyone to sing! It is a gift!”

“If you aren’t born singing, it is like art, you can’t be taught.”

“If you can sing, you can. If you can’t, why pretend”

“You either have it or you don’t. No singing lessons will help you much”

Can it really be true that people really believe such nonsense? I’m afraid many really do. Far too many.

What makes people think developing their singing voice is any different from developing any other skill?

I’ve never heard anyone say “you either have it or you don’t” about playing tennis, playing guitar, writing, or cooking. Have what exactly? What is “it”?

See, if you are saying singing can’t be taught, you are also saying you cannot learn, develop, or improve at all.

How To Succeed When Things Aren’t Going Well…

I started out this series of blog posts about “Exponential Learning and Peak Performance” by using my son’s experience in his first baseball game of the season as an example.

I wrote that the ability to perform at your peak when it matters the most, and to be resourceful when things aren’t going well is a developed skill. I wrote about the predictability of success, and how turning “failures” into successes is something we need to train. (See the previous 4 blog posts here)

I also mentioned that my son (who just turned 12) has become known to be very good at this. Numerous times has he come through when it matters the most. I shared this because it is important to understand that there is a reason for this, and how we can apply it to our lives - whether it is about learning to sing effectively or to live a creative, productive and inspired life in general.

So now that we have ended the baseball season, how about I round it off with another example from my son’s baseball world.

He and his team have had a fantastic season, and now they reached the championship finals – to be played as best of three games. (If you don’t understand baseball, keep reading anyway, because you will get the gist of it anyway)

In game one of the finals, he is the closing pitcher. He comes into the game with two innings left and his team has a comfortable lead 5-1.

But now the nightmare begins…

In my first article, I wrote about the pressure of starting the first game of the season. I wrote about how he managed to turn it around after a troublesome start. (This is part of the training to be resourceful when things aren’t going well.)

But here he is in a situation endlessly more challenging. Because after a lot of great attempts, things are going downhill. His pitches are not the consistent strikes as we have been accustomed to seeing. We are in the last inning and he finds himself in the worst situation ever. The game is suddenly tied 5-5. And worse, after another unintentional walk, the bases are loaded.

Can you imagine the pressure? Can he find strength within and work it out?

We don’t know. Because this time, our coach (who is fabulous), can’t let him be in that situation and decides to replace him. It’s a decision any good coach would make and my son knows it. Yet, naturally, it hurts. How would you feel? Would you feel you have let down your team? Would you feel rejected?

Now as so happens, his teammate in the bottom of the last inning hits a fantastic walk off home run and we win game one.

Relief.

But now the question is, how will my son be able to bounce back? You see, in game two he is scheduled to be the starting pitcher.

Fast forward to game two and my son is indeed the starting pitcher. He has prepared, and is excited…

...but things don’t go well.

With every miss, he tries to shake it off, tries to refocus. The attempts are admirable, but it’s just not working. It’s not just his fault. Some errors by his teammates make things worse. A strange call by the umpire goes against him. Ever had that experience? Would you start blaming your teammates? Blame the umpire? He doesn’t. Never has. He knows everybody makes mistakes. Yet, one can sense the energy draining from his body with the increasing frustration.

In the third inning, he is replaced and we are down 1-7. Not exactly the fairy tale comeback from the previous game that we would have liked, right? So again, how would you feel? Would you start thinking in the line of “I’ve been doing well all season, and now when it matters the most I fail”?

The team is down 4-8 but fight back to tie it 8-8. They fall behind again 8-12 and then come back once again to tie it 12-12. And then starting the last inning, they are batting first and are down 12-13.

Now here’s the thing, his batting hasn’t worked in the game either. He has struck out twice, which has never happened before. What is wrong? Can you imagine the frustration? You’re playing your worst game of the season when it matters the most. It’s even worse if people have come to believe that you are the one who is supposed to do well in these situations. And yet, unlike John that I wrote about in the previous article, he tries to be a good role model and support his teammates.

So here we are. We are down 12-13, we have a runner on second base and my son is up to bat…

And that’s when it happens…

He swings, and WHACK…

The ball flies above the outfielder and almost goes to the fence. He gets to second base, and the runner ties the game! It’s not only the most important, but probably his best hit ever.

He then steals third base…

His teammate hits a single, my son runs home to take the lead, and the crowd goes wild.

Fast forward to the bottom of the last inning. The other team bats last and still has a chance to score. My son now plays third base. With two outs and a runner on first base, the batter hits a fly ball. It sails beyond third base towards the side fence to go foul. But my son runs like crazy, and right before the ball is about to hit the fence, he makes the catch of the season for the win! They are now champions.

You can imagine the celebration…

So what’s the lesson here? Well, we could write a book about all of them.

Talk about fairy-tale ending. Talk about coming through when it matters the most.

Now, here’s the thing: What do you think my son will remember? The bad start or the unbelievably successful finish?

What if he had “given up”? What if he had started thinking that he wouldn’t hit that ball today, that it was a horrible day, or given up on trying to catch that last ball? Or worse, what if he has started to blame external sources, such as umpires or teammates, which is the common response when things aren’t going well?

The feeling of success naturally becomes even greater because of the prior struggle. And it’s not about victory over the other team really. It’s about victory over yourself.

I wrote before that people tend to give up far too easily. Most of us have bad experiences in life. Most of us fail and lose. Most of us are knocked down, replaced and rejected at some point. Some use this as fuel to become better and find ways to experience success, while others make the determination to give up and never do it again.

What we must remember is that successful people are those who have failed the most.

It is far too common that when things don’t go well we blame outside circumstances whether it is the government, the economy, the music industry, or the umpire.

The bottom line is that no matter how badly things seem to go, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow. There is always an opportunity to be a role model for others. There is always a possibility that something wonderful can come out of struggle.

Even if my son hadn’t made the hit that tied the game, scored the winning run, and caught the winning catch, he could still have felt victorious from having been a presence to support his teammates who all did fantastic things in this game. Even if they lost, we could still have been able to transform it into a terrific learning experience that would fuel future success.

And in closing, I’d like to stress one thing: To be able to be resourceful when things aren’t going well is much more than having a “positive” mindset and “believing”. To learn effectively and exponentially from every experience (including every vocal practice and performance if we relate this to singing) is an advanced developed skill.

How does this resonate with your life? Feel free to share…

I started out this series of blog posts about “Exponential Learning and Peak Performance” by using my son’s experience in his first baseball game of the season as an example.

I wrote that the ability to perform at your peak when it matters the most, and to be resourceful when things aren’t going well is a developed skill. I wrote about the predictability of success, and how turning “failures” into successes is something we need to train. (See the previous 4 blog posts here)

I also mentioned that my son (who just turned 12) has become known to be very good at this. Numerous times has he come through when it matters the most. I shared this because it is important to understand that there is a reason for this, and how we can apply it to our lives – whether it is about learning to sing effectively or to live a creative, productive and inspired life in general.

So now that we have ended the baseball season, how about I round it off with another example from my son’s baseball world.

The Mindset Behind Creativity and Innovation

I’ve written before about the ability to turn failures into successes, and why it is a developed skills – a crucial skill if we want to be able to learn effectively, be creative and productive, and be resourceful to find solutions when things aren’t going well.

Therefore, I'd like to share with you a wonderful resource to be inspired and really learn the mindset behind creativity and innovation by one of the true experts in the field. (Plus it’s for a good cause.) Watch this video:

(P.S. My son and I listened to Peter’s absolutely fascinating audio program “Exponential Thinking” a while back. It’s something every teenager, as well as adult, would benefit greatly from. Another fun fact is that Peter works a lot with Ray Kurzweil – named "Edison's rightful heir“ by INC magazine – who is the very man behind Kurzweil keyboards.)

I’ve written before about the ability to turn failures into successes, and why it is a developed skills – a crucial skill if we want to be able to learn effectively, be creative and productive, and be resourceful to find solutions when things aren’t going well.

Therefore, I’d like to share with you a wonderful resource to be inspired and really learn the mindset behind creativity and innovation by one of the true experts in the field. (Plus it’s for a good cause.) Watch this video:

(P.S. My son and I listened to Peter’s absolutely fascinating audio program “Exponential Thinking” a while back. It’s something every teenager, as well as adult, would benefit greatly from. Another fun fact is that Peter works a lot with Ray Kurzweil – named “Edison’s rightful heir“ by INC magazine – who is the very man behind Kurzweil keyboards.)

How To Turn Failure Into Success

To follow up on my previous two articles regarding exponential learning and peak performances and why they are developed skills, I promised to address one issue that we human beings are generally pretty lousy at.

I think when you start recognizing this tendency within yourself, you will set free a huge piece of what is restricting you from living your dreams.

Two emails we received in the last weeks serve as a perfect example.

1)A person who just joined The Singing Zone wrote: “I’ve tried to log in 20 times and it’s not working. I give up. Give me a refund.”
2)A second person who was 64 years old wrote that he had been in the choir in school but had been told to be quiet and had never sung since.

I have full compassion for that frustration when things don’t work out they way we expect them to and the emotional trauma from bad experiences (and as kids we are very susceptible to what people say). Interestingly enough, during the time period the first person tried to log in, hundreds of other members successfully logged in. So why didn’t it work for her? Well, that is of course what my support staff is here to help with, but this person never sought any help.

The second person’s reason for giving up because someone else said something is exceptionally common.

Both of these people gave up. They never turned the “failure” into a success, and, instead, their learning experience was to never do it again.

I’d like to suggest that, in general, we human beings give up far too easily, and therefore have negative (erroneous) learning experiences.

Let’s turn back to the example of my son’s baseball experience (read it here if you haven’t). Should he have given up after having missed a couple of throws? If so, should he have walked away saying “never again”?

That would have been ludicrous. If so, he would have been deprived of the opportunity to experience success. And that is exactly what happens to so many.

Success can never be experienced unless we understand that challenges are prerequisites.

It is BECAUSE we have been made fun of, made fools out of ourselves, been treated badly, had numerous bad experiences, been rejected over and over again, that we develop the fabric that creates success and happiness… but only IF we learn that turning failure into success is a developed skill. It is more than a mindset. It also takes training to develop.

So here’s my question? Do you ever say: “I don’t do that.”? Is there something that you stopped doing because of a bad experience? Most of the time we are not even aware of why we believe what we believe, because we have justified it so well.

One person told us “I don’t order online”, someone else says “I’ve been scammed before”. Others say “I have no talent” before having trained one minute of their lives. Many times the fears and beliefs are not even based on past experiences, but on something they have been told.

So what if we’ve been scammed and cheated? Is that going to stop you from experiencing the good things in life? Is watching a bad movie going to stop me from watching a good one? So what if I’ve you’ve been humiliated. Welcome to the club. Is that going to stop you from experiencing joy and love?

Now having said this, realize that success does NOT come from just doing the same thing over and over. Successful people ADJUST. Trying to log in 20 times the same way without adjusting or asking for help is indeed setting yourself up for failure. My son didn’t just keep throwing, hoping the ball would finally hit it’s target. He is trained to adjust. He adjusts his focus, energy, balance, breathing, mindset, whatever is needed…

Being able to do that better and better is part of what we call learning and that comes from training.

As you know from your own successes, and what anyone of you role models will tell you, there is never ever a straight line to success. We always need to adjust. This is also why it is so crucial that we study the mindset of our role models.

Feel free to share what "bad experience" has held you back and what you are doing about it, or a success story of how you turned failure into success, or something else that comes to mind when you read this.

To follow up on my previous two articles regarding exponential learning and peak performances and why they are developed skills, I promised to address one issue that we human beings are generally pretty lousy at.

I think when you start recognizing this tendency within yourself, you will set free a huge piece of what is restricting you from living your dreams.

Two emails we received in the last weeks serve as a perfect example.

1) A person who just joined The Singing Zone wrote: “I’ve tried to log in 20 times and it’s not working. I give up. Give me a refund.”

2) A second person who was 64 years old wrote that he had been in the choir in school but had been told to be quiet and had never sung since.

I have full compassion for that frustration when things don’t work out they way we expect them to and the emotional trauma from bad experiences (and as kids we are very susceptible to what people say). Interestingly enough, during the time period the first person tried to log in, hundreds of other members successfully logged in. So why didn’t it work for her? Well, that is of course what my support staff is here to help with, but this person never sought any help.

Exponential Learning and Peak Performance – Part 2

In my previous article I used my son’s sport experience as an example. I also promised a follow up to dig deeper into this important subject matter

If you haven’t yet read the previous article make sure you read it first. Click here to read it.

So I mentioned my son had started off missing his first 4 throws in his first baseball game of the season. And similarly, the other boy (who we are calling John) also missed his first attempts. One boy came back and had a great game while the other one didn’t. One turned a challenge into success, while the other boy turned failure into more failure.

I also suggested this outcome was quite predictable, and that this pattern is a developed skill.

How do we develop it? Well, allow me to share the conversation at our dinner table after the game. I tell my son a story:

“You know, its so common that we human beings tend to get so frustrated, sad and angry when things don’t go well. Thats understandable. Of course it doesn’t feel good when things don’t go well. But then what often happens is that we get so frustrated that things get worse, which make us even angrier, and then it gets even worse and we get even angrier, and things just get worse and worse.

But see, once I saw this amazing guy with a remarkable skill. He was the starting pitcher in a baseball game. Guess what he did? He started off throwing 4 balls in a row to open a game. Now that would be really frustrating for a lot of people and I’m sure it was for this guy too. But then guess what he did? The second batter approached the plate and he threw… Bam. Strike one. And then… Bam! Strike 2. And then instead of playing it safe, he goes for a curveball, which he’d only done a couple of times before in his life – and it was the most awesome curveball… Bam. Three strikes in a row. Amazing."

My son breaks out in a wide smile, face beaming: “You’re talking about me.”

We have now turned this event into another one of his great successes. He has a decade of those - from imaginary situations with me in the backyard to real situations with others. In the backyard, from when he was only a few years old, he somehow always managed to come back from close defeat to victory in imaginary big game situation.

Sure, in the beginning I “arranged” it so he would come out victorious and he began to love greater and greater “pressure”. Sometimes I would win and let him handle defeat, so he would develop the desire to go at it again.

Nowadays, I never let him win. These days, I swear he’s messing with me when I’m falling behind. I manage to get closer and closer, and then when I’m real close to actually wining he pulls something out to defeat me. I bet he’s letting me come dangerously close in order to put greater pressure on himself.

Now with this real game that I wrote about in the previous article, you realize there could have been numerous scenarios and we would still have been able to turn it into a success – a successful learning experience. We don’t need to create fairy tale stories. All we need do is reflect on the absolute truth: That real achievements and successes come from how we handle various difficult situations.

Do you think he will be afraid of these situations in the future? Of course not. And as we alluded to in previous articles: It is the person who is afraid of failing who also fails.

As you know, we tend to replay past events in our minds. What do you think the difference is between someone who replays failures over and over in his mind, versus someone who replays his successes over and over again?

Everyone has heard that “we learn from our mistakes”. As I wrote in the last article, there is no such thing as “mistake” or “failure” and that we spell it learning. However, what we should realize is that we learn far more from our successes than we do from failures. When we don’t know how to transform failure – such as in John’s case – it just leads to more failure. Misery leads to more misery. Violence leads to more violence. Blaming others lead us to become greater and greater victims.

Success, on the other hand, feeds success. Happiness leads to more happiness. Gratitude leads to more things to be grateful for. Love leads to more love. This is the real power of attraction.

However, there cannot be success without learning. And a success that has no challenge isn’t much of a success, is it?

So therefore, these words “success” and “failure” become irrelevant, as they are mere labels. What are of real importance are our discoveries and experiences.

And this is where exponential learning comes in. We develop effectively because of the cumulative effect of every experience. Every experience becomes multiplied because we tend to replay it, and every experience affects the next experience. A recent experience makes a previous experience even more profound than it initially was, and so on.

Those who have trained with The Singing Zone program know that this is what we encourage and attempt to accomplish. As an example, the lessons of Month 4 may be called “vibrato lessons”. But once we get there we realize that it is the cumulative effect of everything we have done previously that makes vibrato happen more easily.

Those who have worked on the advanced range sessions of month 8 realize how the very first exercises of the Sing With Freedom program have been so important – And they have perhaps become even more important than they initially seemed to be.

Our learning then also affects our lives beyond that specific activity. My singing training, as most students have attested to, is designed to not only to make you sing and perform better. Likewise, my dinner talk with my son is naturally not just to help him become a better athlete. More importantly it is to help him become a more empowered human being.

Now there is one thing that we humans are inherently quite bad at, which if we become better at dramatically improves our lives. I‘ll address that next time.

For now I’ll leave with some questions to ponder. What events in your life have you replayed as “failures”, and have therefore become the fabric of who you believe you are? If you have performance anxiety, feel you’re never good enough, believe you are a perfectionist, etc., then I can guarantee you have been replaying something for a long time – too long. In fact, every fear we have is likely due to replaying something we have perceived as failure, and then projecting it into an imaginary future.

I get tons of emails from people who don’t dare to do something because they have been “burned” in the past. Being “burned in the past” is exactly the same thing. These fears might be not daring to sing in public, not daring to use a credit card or purchase on the Internet, not being able to make a decision, not being able to experience love, etc. Therefore, they won’t give themselves permission to engage in what they love and follow their dreams.

So what if we’ve been burned in the past. So what if we have “missed”. So what if we have made “mistakes”. The replaying of a bad event and making that stop our entire life is as ludicrous and tragic as if an 11 year old boy came to believe that he should never pitch a baseball game again just because he “missed” 4 in a row.

What do you think?

In my previous article I used my son’s sport experience as an example. I also promised a follow up to dig deeper into this important subject matter

If you haven’t yet read the previous article make sure you read it first. Click here to read it.

So I mentioned my son had started off missing his first 4 throws in his first baseball game of the season. And similarly, the other boy (who we are calling John) also missed his first attempts. One boy came back and had a great game while the other one didn’t. One turned a challenge into success, while the other boy turned failure into more failure.

I also suggested this outcome was quite predictable, and that this pattern is a developed skill.

How do we develop it? Well, allow me to share the conversation at our dinner table after the game. I tell my son a story:

“You know, it’s so common that we human beings tend to get so frustrated, sad and angry when things don’t go well. That’s understandable. Of course it doesn’t feel good when things don’t go well. But then what often happens is that we get so frustrated that things get worse, which make us even angrier, and then it gets even worse and we get even angrier, and things just get worse and worse.

Exponential Learning and Peak Performance

I feel a little uncomfortable using my own son as an example today. However, this is incredibly important so I hope you and he will forgive me. You’ll see how this ties into being able to learn and develop effectively – yes, exponentially - whether it is singing or something else. This is crucial if we want to become more confident and able to perform under pressure. Ultimately, it really is about training ourselves to achieve great things – including healing and learning effectively – to create success and happiness in our lives.

My youngest kid loves to play baseball. His baseball season just started and at 11 he is the youngest kid playing with 12, 13 and soon to be 14 year olds. Nevertheless, he was selected to be the starting pitcher for the very first game of the season. (For you who don’t know baseball, the “pitcher” is the person who throws the ball that the batter of the opposing team tries to hit. If the pitcher misses the target 4 times – known as throwing a “ball” - the batter automatically walks to first base. If the pitcher throws 3 strikes the batter is out. )

Now, what I’d like you to do is imagine this as if it was your performance. Maybe your performance is a singing performance. The moment has come. All eyes are on you. You want to show them you’re good. What do you need to do to succeed?

So what do you think my son does?

First throw is a ball = a miss.
Second attempt: Another ball
Third attempt: Ball
Fourth: Ball

Yup, 4 misses in a row and the first batter walks to first base.

So now, imagine this is you. You’re standing there alone. You have no one to talk to. Everyone is watching and everything is going wrong.

What would you do?

Have you ever felt frustration set in when things aren’t going well in life? Have you ever felt confidence crumble when you don’t do well? How would you feel and what would you do as a parent when your 11 year old is failing amongst 13 year olds?

Now, I’ve seen a lot of kid’s games. I am an eternal student of human behavior, and being a coach in the areas of human performance I am fascinated by these situations.

So before I share what happens to my son, let me tell you about another kid. Let’s call him John. We see John often. He has great athletic ability. He experiences situations when things aren’t going well very often. And what happens is always very predictable.

Let’s take when John stepped up to bat in this game as an example.

On his first attempt he swings and misses the ball. He shakes his head and stomps his foot in frustration and disbelief. Second pitch and this time John doesn’t swing. He let’s it go, believing it’s going to be a ball. However, the umpire calls it a strike.

John flails his arms in utter disbelief towards the umpire. Keeps shaking his head as he gets in stance for the third attempt. Third attempt and he swings for the fences and misses the ball by a mile. A minor tantrum ensues as he slams his bat into the ground, rushes to the dugout and violently throws his helmet into the fence.

For the rest of the game he never hits even once. With every miss, he gets more and more miserable and his life spirals out of control.

Here’s a kid who has never learned how to find inner strength when things aren’t going well. He makes such a big deal out of a “miss” that his exceptional fear of missing produces more misses. As long as this pattern continues, he will never succeed at anything in life. You cannot succeed at anything unless you learn how to learn from challenges and obstacles. Anyone can be good on a good day. Being resourceful and finding inner strength when things don’t go well is an advanced developed skill.

Not surprisingly John's dad is known for his own tantrums, and for casting blame on others such as umpires when things don’t go well.

As you can imagine by now, my son reacts very differently. Yes, we can be frustrated, sad and angry. There is nothing wrong with experiencing these emotions. The question is what we do when we experience them.

So what does he do? The second batter get’s ready and my son throws... Strike one. Strike two. Strike three. Three strikes in a row, and from there on has a great game.

Real success comes from learning to be resourceful and finding solutions when things don't go well. Real success in not about avoiding to fall down. It is about being able to bounce back up when you fall down.

Now, my son has already earned a reputation for being able to handle so-called pressure situations exceptionally well. Numerous times has he come trough when it is needed the most.

What I wish is that people would understand that this is a developed skill. Being confident is a developed skill. Being able to perform at your peak when it matters the most is a developed skill. Being able to learn effectively is a developed skill. I wish John some day learns that his failures are very predictable because that is the way he has trained.

In the next post I will address specific ways to train for success and why this ties into exponential learning, but let’s start with the most fundamental.

In our family and in my coaching there is no such thing as "missing". It is spelled l-e-a-r-n-i-n-g.

There is no such thing as failing. It is spelled l-e-a-r-n-i-n-g.

Unfortunately, people who have only engaged in singing training using traditional scales have never truly experienced this. Many have still after decades of training never learned to access the muscles that create seamless range because they have always been taught to avoid the “break”. They have always believed that missing a note is something that must be avoided, and therefore the training inadvertently creates restrictions and fear-based “control seeking”, rather than releasing the true freedom that mesmerizes an audience.

In part 2 we’ll continue with this. In the meantime I encourage you to ponder this. Do you become better or worse when things aren’t going well? Do you become stronger or weaker? What is success and what is failure? What do you do when you become sad, frustrated or angry? What could make you experience greater success in your singing?

I feel a little uncomfortable using my own son as an example today. However, this is incredibly important so I hope you and he will forgive me. You’ll see how this ties into being able to learn and develop effectively – yes, exponentially – whether it is singing or something else.  This is crucial if we want to become more confident and able to perform under pressure. Ultimately, it really is about training ourselves to achieve great things – including healing and learning effectively – to create success and happiness in our lives.

To Get A More Powerful Voice

Have you ever had that feeling when things aren’t working out? You’re working so hard but results refuse to appear? I sure have. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

It’s like your banging your head against a brick wall. You may experience it in your singing, such as frustration of not reaching those high notes. Or maybe you experience frustration with your finances, health, relationship, career… you name it…. Most of us can relate to the frustrations when things aren’t going well.

It’s like that brick wall is pounding you right back.

Well, here’s what’s interesting. If you hit your fist against a brick wall, the brick wall does in fact hit you back.

This is, in fact, Newton’s third law of motion. The opposing forces are equal in magnitude.

Now, for practical purposes today, we could call that opposing force “resistance”, or why not “tension”.

Those of you who have done the Sing With Freedom program recognize that we already in lesson one did experiments that released tension and resistance. And what happened? That’s right, suddenly the voice became freer and more powerful. (We also reduced mental resistance.) For many, the changes can be immediate and dramatic.

The human tendency is to force more and more when we meet resistance. The bummer is that when we do that we just create more resistance. This can be in communication with others at work or at home, or forcing our bodies with drugs, forcing our minds to come up with ideas, adding force to any problem.

And by pounding that fist into the wall harder and harder out of frustration we just creates more and more resistance, restrictions, tension and stress in our lives.

I believe it is incredibly valuable to become more and more aware of the difference between power and force, and how by reducing resistance you actually achieve greater power – in your voice and in life.

Having said that, a certain amount of resistance is not always bad.

When we work out with weights we call that resistance training. We use resistance to our benefit in order to become stronger. Challenges in life are useful to make us stronger. And challenging our voice is useful for getting a stronger voice.

However, forcing becomes counterproductive when we don’t recognize where the force is and what it is leading to. That is why athletes are exceptionally aware of “good form” so that strength is being built in the desirable muscles. (I illustrated and gave examples of this in the free video that I provide at The Singing Zone.

Unfortunately in singing, people are seldom made aware of this, and when they sing and speak they just create habitual resistance/tension (as I demonstrated in the free video)

(And let’s not forget that much resistance also resides in the emotional area, such as fears.)

But once we become aware and skilled enough to release the habitual tension and restrictions, a newfound power emerges.

Now power is no longer about being loud. You can, in fact, be exceptionally powerful when singing softly. Now it's not about forcing the notes or forcing the audience to like you (which obviously never works). Instead, you can become powerful because you have the ability to empower and positively influence others.

Can you apply the principles of reducing resistance to achieve greater power today?

Have you ever had that feeling when things aren’t working out? You’re working so hard but results refuse to appear? I sure have. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

It’s like your banging your head against a brick wall. You may experience it in your singing, such as frustration of not reaching those high notes. Or maybe you experience frustration with your finances, health, relationship, career… you name it…. Most of us can relate to the frustrations when things aren’t going well.

It’s like that brick wall is pounding you right back.

Well, here’s what’s interesting. If you hit your fist against a brick wall, the brick wall does in fact hit you back.

This is, in fact, Newton’s third law of motion. The opposing forces are equal in magnitude.

Now, for practical purposes today, we could call that opposing force “resistance”, or why not “tension”.

Those of you who have done the Sing With Freedom program recognize that we already in lesson one did experiments that released tension and resistance. And what happened? That’s right, suddenly the voice became freer and more powerful. (We also reduced mental resistance.) For many, the changes can be immediate and dramatic.

To Sing Better And Be More Successful in 2013

Happy New year! Yes, the New Year is upon us and while people are busy breaking their New Year resolutions already, you and I are busy planning and strategizing for long-term success, right?

So you want to make more money, be healthier and sing better in 2013? Well, having goals are great. But have you thought of what the skills are that you need to develop in order to accomplish your goals? Let me address one fundamental skill here.

I want to share something about Christmas celebration – a fundamental difference between Christmases in Sweden that I grew up with, and how I have come to understand Christmas is often celebrated in the US.

And I’m not talking up the religious aspects now. I’m talking about the way presents are given.

You see in Sweden, it is on Christmas Eve that we get presents. For some, Santa mysteriously arrives in the evening. Unfortunately, poor Dad just missed him since moments earlier he went out for a walk or went to “buy the evening newspaper” at the store. (Hmmm, he always returned saying the store was closed). For others, Santa arrived during the night and the presents were found under the Christmas Tree in the morning, but were to be opened in the evening.

The point here is that Christmas Eve for a kid is just about the longest and most trying day ever. It is the ultimate test of patience. Once has to wait endlessly until one can finally open Christmas presents.

Then, once it is time to open presents, one does it in an orderly fashion. One present at a time. One person at a time.

As far as I have come to understand, many American kids wake up and open their presents right away on the morning of Christmas Day. From those I have spoken with, it is more of a process of ripping open the presents as fast as possible.

This has always made me wonder. Is there something inherent in the culture that has become accustomed to fast foods, quick fixes, quick-diets, and make-money-quick-schemes? Is there a relationship between this behavior and why the pharmaceutical companies and junk food companies are able to thrive in tandem on people’s desires for band-aid solutions?

I once chatted with a badminton player and coach from Malaysia who had represented Malaysia many times in the world championships. (Malaysia has a long history of being a powerhouse nation in badminton).

He had come to the US to train the US badminton team. He told me he noticed a fundamental flaw in the US badminton players: Lack of patience. Americans wanted to kill the ball early, while the Malaysians were all disciplined martial art black belts.

My life centers around developing strategies for effective and accelerated learning – because it is indeed very possible to learn skills much faster than most people are aware of – whether it is to become a better singer, healing an injury, learning a language, building a business, or whatever. And I find it fascinating that those who learn effectively and fast have a completely opposite attitude and mindset compared to those who seek quick fixes.

I get emails all the time from people who “just want a quick tip”, or people who seriously believe watching a video on Youtube is going to make them world-class singers

The unfortunate reality is that it is when we are poor we want to make money quick. And that mindset keeps us in poverty. It is the overweight person who seeks to lose weight quick. While she may succeed short term (oftentimes by simple losing water), she has never learned the real skills necessary and will therefore gain it all back. And it is the quick-tip seeker who never really learns.

It is the person who truly engages in training to develop the brain that learns. Yes it is always the brain that does the learning, that creates the healthy body, that makes you wealthy, and that makes your voice soar – although not the same part that does trigonometry calculations. You can indeed develop skills in months that the quick-tip seeker will spend years searching for.

The people who learn effectively and who therefore excel in various areas of life, are in fact the ones with an exceptional strong sense of discipline (which is a developed skill). They are the people who don’t mind delayed gratification. In fact, the prefer it over instant gratification. Practicing the art of delayed gratification could perhaps turn out to be one the greatest exercises you can engage in.

And as parents, delaying gratification maybe one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

Does this have something to do with how we open Christmas presents? Maybe? Who knows?

Do you prefer instant gratification or do you prefer more powerful gratification even if it is delayed?

Happy New year! Yes, the New Year is upon us and while people are busy breaking their New Year resolutions already, you and I are busy planning and strategizing for long-term success, right?

So you want to make more money, be healthier and sing better in 2013? Well, having goals are great. But have you thought of what the skills are that you need to develop in order to accomplish your goals? Let me address one fundamental skill here.

I want to share something about Christmas celebration – a fundamental difference between Christmases in Sweden that I grew up with, and how I have come to understand Christmas is often celebrated in the US.

And I’m not talking up the religious aspects now. I’m talking about the way presents are given.

You see in Sweden, it is on Christmas Eve that we get presents. For some, Santa mysteriously arrives in the evening. Unfortunately, poor Dad just missed him since moments earlier he went out for a walk or went to “buy the evening newspaper” at the store. (Hmmm, he always returned saying the store was closed). For others, Santa arrived during the night and the presents were found under the Christmas Tree in the morning, but were to be opened in the evening.

The point here is that Christmas Eve for a kid is just about the longest and most trying day ever. It is the ultimate test of patience. Once has to wait endlessly until one can finally open Christmas presents.

THANK YOU!

Today, here in the US, is the day of Thanksgiving. And, as we all know, reflecting on what we are grateful for is a very powerful activity.

As we get into reflecting on what we are grateful for, the more things pop up in our mind. It’s one of those things that expand the more we do.

Gratitude comes easily as a result of success. But I think it's even more valuable if we embrace the belief that gratitude is a precursor to success (however we define success). Perhaps gratitude is even a prerequisite for success.

As I look back, I am exceptionally grateful for having suddenly lost my health, voice and therefore gone broke some years ago.

If it hadn’t happened, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten the kick in the rear to realize the importance of publishing my method that previously had helped so many people.

But the truth is, although I was miserable many times, there was something inside me that knew there was an opportunity. I knew I couldn’t publish anything unless I healed first. I couldn’t speak about health and about improving the body with integrity unless I could be a role model for what was possible. And I knew “healing” wasn't enough. I needed to become stronger, healthier and more knowledgeable than I had been if I were to expect success.

Even then, and every time I face a challenge now, I feel gratitude for the opportunity to grow, improve and learn something I need to learn.

I am grateful for the back injury I had as a kid. Would I ever have become so interested in learning about the body and mind if I hadn’t experienced it? Would I have experienced my achievements in sports if I hadn’t? Would I then have become a performer, coach, etc?

We’ve all heard the old talk about “obstacles being stepping stones to success”. I am immensely grateful that I never believed that it was just “positive talk” from people who already had “made it”, but that I realized at an early age that it is actually true.

Yes, I am of course even more grateful for the painful events after the fact. Let’s face it, it's much easier to talk about being grateful when we no longer are in the moment of despair and pain.

However, I truly believe that reflecting on what we can be grateful for – even if it is just seemingly small stuff – is what becomes the fuel for healing and improving.

And of course I am extremely grateful for YOU – for you who are reading this, for all my customers, clients and members of The Singing Zone. Hearing your stories – your struggles and your successes – is what gives me the reason to do what I do. Your emails, your comments on this blog, your amazing insights and ways of assisting other members in The Singing Zone forum are just phenomenal.

You are inspiring and I Thank You!

As always you are welcome to share your thoughts. Maybe you have found gratitude to be a way that has helped you out of pain?

With gratitude,

Per Bristow

Today, here in the US, is the day of Thanksgiving. And, as we all know, reflecting on what we are grateful for is a very powerful activity.

As we get into reflecting on what we are grateful for, the more things pop up in our mind. It’s one of those things that expand the more we do.

Gratitude comes easily as a result of success. But I think it’s even more valuable if we embrace the belief that gratitude is a precursor to success (however we define success). Perhaps gratitude is even a prerequisite for success.

As I look back, I am exceptionally grateful for having suddenly lost my health, voice and therefore gone broke some years ago.

If it hadn’t happened, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten the kick in the rear to realize the importance of publishing my method that previously had helped so many people.

But the truth is, although I was miserable many times, there was something inside me that knew there was an opportunity. I knew I couldn’t publish anything unless I healed first. I couldn’t speak about health and about improving the body with integrity unless I could be a role model for what was possible. And I knew “healing” wasn’t enough. I needed to become stronger, healthier and more knowledgeable than I had been if I were to expect success.

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