At my last workshop, this question was asked by Rachel, an opera singer:
“In performance, the stakes are higher. In practice, it’s hard for me to prioritize. There’s like a roadblock in my practicing, but in real life I’d handle it better.”
It’s normal for real-life performance situations to make us perform better. More is on the line. There’s adrenaline.
Your performance in real life matters. So, you block out distractions. You let yourself take risks. Because you have to.
The SELF turns OFF and you become absorbed in the task.
When you’re practicing, however, it’s a different story…
There’s no urgency, so you take your time.
Everything becomes future-focused (because the present doesn’t matter so much), and the SELF turns ON.
These are not ideal practice conditions.
Athletes train themselves past the point where they know they will have to perform.
Training should be difficult so that performance is easy.