Let me start with the story of Dyana.
Dyana was a young girl I worked with. She came to me for piano lessons. She was a very attentive (and bright!) kid who loved music. She was sooo excited to begin piano lessons.
Fast forward a month….
It was obvious to me that she was NOT practicing (at all) Hmmm... Her parents were not forcing her to take lessons and she was always genuinely excited to be there. So I called her out and asked why she wasn’t practicing.
Her big eyes looked at me and she said, “Well, people who are good don’t need to practice, right? Only people who are bad at music need to practice. If I NEED to practice then that means I’m not good at playing music.”
A-ha! That was it! She somehow had it in her mindset that if she needed to practice to become better, then that meant she was a hopeless musician.
I looked at her with sympathetic eyes and said, “Actually you have that backwards…. The people who are good, they are the ones who DO Practice – a lot – that’s HOW they got so good!”
I referred to a local amazing musician whom she admired and said “You know, Jon?, right?” Her face lit up, “Yeah he’s really good at both piano, guitar and singing!!” I said, “Do you know he practices everyday…. For hours.” (He was a friend and I knew this little fact ;) she looked at me shocked, “Really?” Yes, I said, he’s my friend too and I know this, he practices more than anyone I know!” Needless to say, she started practicing and even started becoming a YouTube addict, learning new things online between lessons!!
How did this story give me a whole new level of A-ha when I told it last week?
I realized that for years I thought just like she did! (I even catch myself in the present sometimes…) The older I got and more gigs I did, I realized that I started practicing less… I was playing out in the ‘real world.’ And a subconscious piece of me thought if I still need to practice, then I’m not good. Whoa! Limiting belief!
One of the biggest road blocks I’ve seen (and experienced!) is that artists (and non-artists) have been ingrained (not your fault!) with certain beliefs - who they are, their abilities, & who they ‘should’ be. When these thoughts serve our highest good, that’s a good thing! BUT when we hold onto mindsets that bring us down, they can erode both our potential and our creativity! The amazing thing is that we have the power to Change our Mindsets and Grow.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
Unfortunately most of us have them... As we see in the story above, Dyana thought that if she had to practice, that meant she was a bad piano player. Ironically, this thought prevented her from practicing and actually becoming better!!! And by the way, I have witnessed this same mindset in a lot of kids (and myself ;)
Here are some other common ones that artists tend to have:
+ I’m not good at… (insert the thing you are most passionate about)
+ In order to be a true artist, I have to be a starving, struggling artist
+ Either you have IT or you don’t
+ Good Performers don’t get nervous
+ I’m too old / too young
Here’s the truth. The biggest IT factor you can have is the passion to reach your goals. The most successful thing you can have is a positive mindset that says you CAN! I understand this isn't always easy......
Start to Make the Shift by…
Listening more closely to your thoughts. NOTICE when you cut yourself down, tell yourself you can’t or criticize yourself. You might be surprised to discover that these thoughts happen A Lot! Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish between good and bad thoughts. It just hears the thought, good or bad, and thinks it’s the truth. Motivate yourself by feeding your mind with the thoughts that encourage creativity and success.
When the thought happens, notice it & slow down…. Don’t criticize yourself (that gives your brain a negative subconscious message). Tell yourself something like “I choose not to believe that” or “That’s not true” and replace it with a positive one...
“I am a good singer and I’m getting better and better each day”
“I can make a great income being a creative musician”
“I’m getting braver each time I go on stage”
+ Wear a bracelet or a ring. Each time you catch yourself having the negative thought switch sides of the finger or hand. As you make the switch you can also think about your positive thought + Do some reading! “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” (Joseph Murphy) talks about this stuff in depth. The book was the precursor to The Secret, which is also a great read. If you’re not a book person? There is also a movie version of “The Secret”.