For most people, stage fright is more scarring than death. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, 75% of people find stage fright as their number one fear.
These are fascinating numbers. Totally understandable, but fascinating. It ponders me – the fact is that I love stages. I haven’t always loved stages though, as a child stages freaked the shit out of me.
What is it that scares us? What is it that makes stages our number one fear in a day and age where society revolves around social media and every person is a unique snowflake waiting to be discovered? Shouldn’t we love to be in focus? Isn’t many people’s most beloved dream to be famous and have the attention of everyone in the room?
Most often the explanation to stage fright is that everyone in the room have the perfect opportunity to judge and evaluate you, but is that still the case? Are we still so afraid to be judged? The difference with today and twenty years ago is that every individual have the opportunity to put their life in the face of others (and we certainly do!). In a world where data didn’t travel far and wide, and internet was limited, this simply was not possible.
Everyone is not putting their lives to the surface, accessible by anyone it pleases – but the youth of today is not unfamiliar with the feeling of being exposed, judged and evaluated. They are used to it.
I argue that the fear of stages is part of a paradigm shift.
We are no longer afraid of being in focus. We are afraid of being exposed for being the person we are rather than the person we are trying so hard to be. We spend so much time projecting an image of ourselves to others, and putting ourselves on the stage enables all of our viewers to see right through it. It enables them to see the insecurities of our inner core and true self.
Overcoming stage fright is all about putting yourself out there and becoming one with your insecurities. To continuously put yourself in a situation of exposure and vulnerability. But most importantly to let go of the need of projecting yourself as something you’re not to other people.
When you are not afraid of being you, you are not afraid of what others might think of you. Be authentic.
Get on that stage.