How to Have Confidence As a Top When Doing Something New
When topping, our partner often would like us to have confidence. Confidence is sexy. Confidence inspires confidence.
Confidence comes naturally with time. With practice. If I’ve never ridden a bicycle before, I’m not going to feel confident about riding a bicycle… after I’ve been riding for a while and I’m doing well, I’ll have natural confidence in my bicycle riding.
But what about when we’re doing something new? What then? How do we have the confidence that our partner would like us to have, when we don’t have natural confidence yet?
We could of course roleplay being confident. But this can be distracting. Like trying to learn to balance on top of a beam, and then starting to juggle when we don’t have our balance yet. Adding more stuff doesn't help.
Or, if lack of confidence is seen as an obstacle, we can try to “psych ourselves up”. To overcome our lack of confidence.
There actually is a better solution.
As we practice, we’ll naturally get better, and we’ll develop natural confidence.
There are however more and less effective ways of practicing.
The less effective way is to jump in and do everything of what you want to be able to do at full speed, making mistakes and stumbling along the way.
You’ll still get better, you’ll learn, over time. But you’re practicing the mistakes as well as what you’re trying to learn, which will slow you down.
When musicians learn to play a musical instrument, they spend time practicing the scales. Practicing how to play individual notes. Without the distraction of learning a melody at the same time.
Then, to learn a new melody, they’ll play it very slowly. Slowly enough so that they don’t make any mistakes. And gradually increase speed to learn to play the melody faster without mistakes. And if they start making mistakes, to slow down again.
To practice, naturally you need a willing partner. “Hey, there’s something new I’d like to practice, would you be willing for me to go slow while I work on this?”
And the trick is, when you go slow enough, when you’ve simplified so that you’re practicing one thing at a time, you’ll feel confident.
Your lack of confidence now isn’t an obstacle to overcome, it’s a compass. A useful indicator.
Feeling less confident? Slow down some more.
Feeling confident, and not making any mistakes? Speed up a little, or try something a little harder.
You can use your feeling of confidence to steer your practice.
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