David J. Schwartz on Releasing Your Creative Powers
Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!
“Belief releases creative powers. Disbelief puts the brakes on.”David J. Schwartz, PhD
There’s another phrase that says this a different way: “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves.”
Once we decide to believe something (even for a few moments), our minds begin to come up with ideas to support it.
This is true for any thought. If we believe our neighbor is a stellar lady, we’ll find evidence that proves it. Likewise, if we think she’s a menace, we’ll find the evidence for that.
Once we adopt a belief, we see evidence at every turn. This is called the “confirmation bias”. We confirm what we already think.
When we choose to believe that it’s possible to get what we want, our creative mind goes to work on it. We then have ideas of how we can get it. We open to new possibilities.
The four-minute mile is a good example of how belief changes ability. When Roger Bannister did it, others could as well – because they believed it possible.
Does this mean every idea will be workable? No. That’s not the job of the creative mind. Its job is only to create, not evaluate.
We often limit ourselves. We decide we’re too __________ (young, old, untalented, poor, busy, etc.). And as soon as we decide this, we find ample examples of its truth.
But we find just as many examples of the opposite, if we suspend one belief and subscribe to another.
As musicians, we often limit ourselves in this way. We choose to believe in our limitations.
But we could see equal evidence to support our progress. If we look for signs of improvement, those are there as well.
All it takes is to first believe (or even pretend to believe), and then remain open to what comes.
As we act on those ideas, we soon see the proof. Then the new belief grows stronger and we become even more creative.
It’s a virtuous cycle that starts with a conscious choice to believe.
Hi, I’m Allen Mathews.
I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
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I also want to thank you for including more video lessons on the Bridges Guitar Series. I have learned to play Calatayud's Waltz. The most exciting thing about having done this is that I sight-read the entire piece as I was learning it. Six months ago looking at a sheet of music was like looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics. Learning to read notation is empowering and I appreciate the sensible way you are teaching us to learn to read music.
~ Steve Simpler
I came on board three months ago and I’m loving it more than ever. I have maintained my practice pattern. I’m sticking wholeheartedly with the program as written. That makes it easy to see what I NEED to work on rather than just playing the shiny places I’ve gone beyond…..I’ve learned to focus 100% on what I’m doing that very minute….I’m developing strength in my left hand...I spend time with the videos in the evenings and always find something more to help me. I’m not looking for info anywhere else. Everything I need is right here in The Woodshed. You say “Jump” and I say “How high.” I’m so grateful I found you. You speak in a language I understand.
~ Gloria Mader
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