So, today I want to tackle the concept of mindset and how it relates to us as singers.
I’d previously heard of the term ‘mindset’ in relation to positive thinking or being strong willed. i.e.. something you were told you should have- a kind of inner strength or resilience. So far, so good- however, what does that mean in practical terms? How does someone acquire this illusive ‘mindset’?
According to Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindset, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset is where someone believes that their nature, talent and abilities are fixed. The problem with this is that it becomes far too easy to write off yourself and others. A fixed mindset is a powerless place to be. It leaves little or no room for development.
For example, if you believe you were born with a finite amount of talent, you’re probably going to take it a lot harder if you mess up on stage, than you would if you believed that you can grow your talents. Instead of being useful, mistakes will feel like a threat to your very identity as a singer, perhaps even as a person!
Generally speaking, those with a fixed mindset struggle to push themselves out of their comfort zone more than their growth mindset counterparts. If you believe you can’t grow or improve, you’ll be less likely to risk failure- because that failure will be interpreted as you being a failure.
The truth is, we all need to fail in order to grow.
According to Daniel Coyle, author of the Talent Code, ‘talent isn’t born, it’s grown’. Developing our talents takes commitment and persistence, and this is the only way to improve.
Recognising that you have a choice can be hugely liberating. You decide- do you believe your talent is fixed? Or do you believe it’s grown? Which of these beliefs would you prefer to steer your creative path?
Creating takes a great deal of humility. You have to get comfortable with operating at the edge of your ability. There really is no place for perfectionism or ego in creation. Give yourself a break from these tyrants and get to work!
The below video will give you more insight into Carol Dweck’s research into the ‘growth mindset’.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I highly recommend reading the following books:
Mindset by Carol Dweck (of course)
I hope you enjoy reading them, and that they blow your mind in the same awesome way they blew mine!
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