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Can there be such a thing as a Happy Challenge Dancer?By Patience Andy Ploumacie - June 94 ZipCoder
These days, people often receive two different, and in many ways, conflicting sets of advice. On the one hand we are told we can accomplish anything if we try hard enough. "Work as if you're going to be on top," and "psych yourself to believe you will be on top, and when the results are in, you will be on top." This approach works for some people. But its limitations are obvious, and it must be applied with caution. After all, only one person can rise to the very top, and if the others adopted this strategy would they regard themselves as failures? Or can they adjust and simply say, "better luck next time?" And how many no-win 'next times' can they take?
The other philosophy advises you to "work hard" and "work smart" but know who you are and to recognize your limitations. As a dancer you are intelligent and disciplined enough to be coping with a Challenge level in the first place. But accept that you may not be the smartest on the floor. In fact, in the Challenge world, only a select few are really the very best.
"But I have to be one of them!" some of you may say. You have to? Admittedly, it would be nice if you were. But is there no life, no fulfillment, or happiness, for the rest of the dancers out there? In the overall activity of Challenge dancing is your only measure of success the mastering of the very hardest of calls? Let's continue to value and honor superior floor performance, but we should keep things in perspective. And whatever your outlook, maintain a realistic level of self esteem. What is self esteem?
In addition to our obvious dependence on food, water and shelter, we all have a need to be accepted, to sense that we belong to a group, and to be valued by others in the group. Human beings are social creatures and want to belong. We also yearn to develop our talents and gifts, to learn, and to grow towards a worthwhile goal. You can fulfill these needs in your quest of Challenge dancing, so long as you do it responsibily and thoughtfully. But beyond this, we also have a need to give of ourselves, to give something back and to make a positive contribution. You will sense these things over the long term in your square dancing career. And in the short term, you can begin to achieve them through interactions with fellow dancers, by being helpful (calling and/or teaching) and by administering when needed.
Take stock of yourself at the end of a week's dancing. You have studied hard, learned new things, met and danced with interesting people - and you have even exercised your body. The week has marked another step forward in a lifetime adventure of Challenge dancing.
Can you meet the demands of Challenge dancing, develop a balanced self esteem, and have a life? Can there be a happy Challenge dancer who isn't Numero Uno? It's a challenge, but it can be done!
From the Western Square Dancing Web page. Copyright notice.
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