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But one thing that hasn't changed is the tendency for some attendees to adopt a sense of entitlement and lash out at DJs in ways that can sap the joy from our profession. Richard Lee’s recent article about ‘The Karen’ – those guests who sour our passion for DJing – resonated deeply with me, as I suspect it did for many other DJs. We've all encountered those demanding, obnoxious guests who think nothing of shoving a phone in our face or berating us over music choices. And like Richard, I've found myself dwelling on those negative encounters long after the event has ended.

This tendency to focus on the negative isn't just a DJ problem, of course. It's a human phenomenon rooted in our evolutionary psychology. Researchers call it the ‘negativity bias’ – our innate propensity to pay more attention to and be more strongly affected by unpleasant experiences than positive ones.

It makes sense when you consider the survival advantages this bias once conferred. Our ancestors, who were more attuned to potential threats, who reacted more strongly to the rustling in the grass that might be a sabre-toothed tiger, were the ones more likely to avoid becoming that tiger's lunch. The negativity bias kept them alive.

But in today's world, where we thankfully don't have to worry about big carnivores pouncing at any moment, this bias can become a hindrance. It causes us to dwell on insults, criticisms and bad reviews, while glossing over the mountains of positive feedback we receive. And as DJs, it can lead us to let the ‘Karens’ of the world steal our joy and passion for the work we love.

Even the ancient Greek philosophers grappled with this tendency, recognising that while we shouldn't simply ignore the genuine distress of others, we shouldn't get drawn into their negativity either. They advocated a balanced approach of expressing outward empathy while maintaining inner detachment.

Adopting a similar stance can be valuable for DJs dealing with difficult audience members. It's understandable to feel hurt or angered when faced with such unreasonable behaviour. But getting emotionally entangled rarely improves the situation. If anything, it can make us more vulnerable to the negativity bias, causing us to catastrophise and lose perspective.

So, how can we as DJs tame this negativity bias and maintain a positive, resilient mindset? Here are some strategies for harmonising the mind and the decks, inspired by both modern psychology and ancient Greek wisdom.

1. Recognise and redirect negative thoughts

It's all too easy to let a harsh critique overshadow the enjoyment of many. Recognise this as your negativity bias at work. Challenge these thoughts by remembering the guests who are revelling in your music. Remind yourself not to believe everything you think.

2. Embrace mindfulness and presence

Stay grounded through...

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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 125, Pages 64-66.
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13 / 10 / 2024 - 14 / 10 / 2024


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