14 December 2009

Limiting beliefs

Teaching Art is always a challenge, everyone has different needs and varying levels of ability and most people can not even agree on what makes good Art. When I teach Art I try to not only teach technical skills but also ways to think creatively and hopefully new ways of understanding what good Art can be. I myself am also on the constant search to improve my Art, and find new ways to understand creativity.

When I encounter difficult students I often ponder what it is that is holding them back, that is from my point of view and experience. It is extremely frustrating to see someone deliberately hold themselves back from getting better, and believe me I see it all the time. When a student trusts where you are taking them they learn a lot more.

I have come up with four limiting beliefs that I have encountered with students and even myself over the years. I may think of more and I am sure the reader will have their own thoughts to add, which  welcome.

1-If I was talented I wouldn't have to try

There is a misconception that people are born talented with certain abilities. Whilst this may be partly true, athletes, musicians and artists all have to train and practice to get better.

To get better everyone has to,
  • Practice
  • Refine the of the elements of the practice
  • Train
  • Persist


2-It might not work out

We all fear that we may fail if we try something. It is much easier to never try and hence never fail. I believe this is the number one reason for writers block. Due to past successes we fear that we may fail or not live up to our own previous standards.

To overcome fear,
  • Start small and build it up if needed
  • Do anything and see what happens
  • Keep your ideas to yourself when they are in their infancy, do not look to others for approval
  • Do not judge, just keep working
  • Again, do not judge, it just leads to frustration and giving up
  • Understand that things take time and trust that the progression of learning is happening



3-I'm already good/ok, why try harder?

Sometimes we need to think that we are already inherently good at what we do, otherwise we may never attempt anything. This assumption can also be limiting. I often think this type of arrogance is there to cover underlying insecurities.

To counter your ego,
  • Realise your faults and weakpoints, build on them
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Know what you are good at and build on it


4-I'm an island unto myself

We falsely believe that great Artists had no help or training and learned everything themselves in isolation. Artists are often afraid to look like they do not know something or ask for editorial advice. No one is an island unto themselves and by meeting and working with other people in your field you both benefit from the experience.

To stop being an island,
  • Acknowledge and respect the contribution teachers and peers have on you, even people in unrelated fields may have something to offer
  • Seek help, being humble is not a bad thing
  • Discover resources and networks and get involved in them



3 comments:

Rob said...

To remove limiting beliefs you can reframe the belief. Reframing is changing the way you perceive a belief and by doing so you change the meaning. When the meaning changes, the response and behavior changes. I find that one way of removing limiting beliefs is by using the six-step technique developed by John Grinder, the co-founder of NLP. It involves:

1. Identifying the context where the unwanted behavior pattern occurred,
2. Establishing unconscious yes/no signals,
3. Confirming that the behavior has a positive intent,
4. Finding a number of ways of fulfilling the positive intent,
5. Selecting the best of the possible alternatives generated in step 4,
6. Checking that the selection is ecological, that is, it is acceptable to the individual and in relationships to others.

Jeope said...

Wise thoughts, Anthony, is all I can say. I find myself in one or more of these categories from time to time.

Anthony Woodward said...

Thanks Rob and Jeope!