I played an audition last week. For a gig that would really smooth over some bumps in our financial stability, at a big (actually I am told it’s the biggest theatre stage in the world!) and ultra-professional stage show. In all honesty it is artistically not my highest goal in life, but there are not so many solid jobs left for musicians and it’s an opportunity I’m not in a position to blow off.
However, that’s really not what this is about. What’s it about then? In a word, confidence.
It’s been a while since I did one of these auditions and I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it. I should clarify that I rarely ever get any kind of stage fright when actually performing; after thousands of times in front of audiences ranging from rather small to very big indeed, I generally don’t let that particular breed of anxiety get the better of me.
Auditions, however (and exams, though they are likely a thing of the past for me now) have always been a different story. They have always brought out the worst in me, all the self-judgment and second-guessing that this blog is all about transcending. In performance, the feeling that everyone is picking apart your work looking for flaws is largely imaginary; in an audition, it’s entirely real – in fact it’s the whole point. And it’s been an Achilles heel for me as long as I can remember.
This time was different: I found myself with an unexpected feeling of confidence, and I’m interested in uncovering where it might have come from. Let’s break it down. More
I’ve just finished reading a little ebook by Mark Silver called Backwards, and it’s got me thinking about a few things. It’s a free download (you don’t even have to opt in!) so if the following piques your interest, head on over and grab yourself a copy!
The basic proposition seems to be that in terms of ‘getting what you want’ in life, or building a life you want to live, the popular Law Of Attraction / Manifestation concept might be putting the cart before the horse. Silver offers a ‘heart-centered’ Sufi perspective on how to go about it the other way around. I started thinking about how this might apply to creativity…
I’m not sure the book is for everyone, but I feel it’s a very sincere and powerful little document and well worth a read if you’re open-minded about such things. That said, if the notion that a mystical/gnostic tradition with roots in Islam might have something profound to offer to the modern world is upsetting to you or challenges your core beliefs in ways that make you uncomfortable, you should probably steer clear; then again, you might not be in the right place here, either… More
The following is an excerpt (paraphrased in a few places) of my upcoming Manifesto… sign up for updates to be notified when it is released!
Creativity fascinates me.
It is the focus of my life, the thread of my narrative.
Creative people are a profound mystery to me, despite the fact that I have been told all my life that I am one. On good days I suppose I am, but this doesn’t diminish the mystery and magic of it. Creativity is a small miracle that happens every day, all over the world, and this document [and fearlesscreativity.com generally!] aims to help you engage your creativity in a deeper, more empowered manner.
I have spent my life in pursuit of creativity, and I’ve also spent a lot of time around other people who are on the same quest. I’ve watched myself and others wrestle with the process, frustrated by its unpredictability and with the futility of trying to control it. I don’t believe it has to be this way. I think we can do better, and I will be using this space to explore what I believe to be a healthier, more joyous, less fearful creative process. More
Well hello there! I’ve been developing the concept for this new blog for the past couple of months, and it seemed appropriate to launch it during World Creativity and Innovation Week – April 15-21, leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd. I don’t know if the connection there is deliberate, but it ties into one of the main things I’ll be talking about in these pages: creativity as a key connection-point between us and the world we live in.
In her seminal book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success‘*, psychologist Carol Dweck identifies two basic ‘mindsets’ – core beliefs about our intelligence and abilities that determine how we learn, how we see ourselves and what motivates us. They are the Fixed mindset and the Growth mindset. Basically, if you have a Fixed mindset, you believe that your intelligence, talent, creativity, ability, whatever, is innate – you are born with a certain capacity, and that’s that. A Growth mindset is just the opposite – you believe that these traits are plastic, flexible, something to nurture and grow and develop over a lifetime.
This is obviously a very simple idea, and a very broad categorization… and yet I believe it is enormously powerful. Dweck’s research is compelling, and indicates unequivocally that the latter ‘mindset’ is a far more effective and empowering way to view ourselves and our interaction with the world of information we live in. I’d like to take a closer look at this in the specific context of creativity. More
note: this post is reprinted from my previous blog, Cliffjump!
I spend a lot of time with my little boy. He’s pretty great, and everyone tells us he’s their favorite toddler (obviously he’s ours), but I’m pretty sure he’s exactly as special as every other almost-three-year old, which is to say amazingly, unimaginably special. I figure he probably does much the same stuff they all do. Which is to say, he plays. And I play with him, as often as I can between the dishes and the laundry and such. I also watch… and learn. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I’ve distilled from observing (usually in jealous awe) his effortless, totally un-self-conscious creative play.