Programming Included

Writing Music, Creative Endeavors, and the Growth Mindset

My Thoughts on Discipline


Charles Chen | 2017-09-12 12:00 PT

When I grew up, I recall remembering vividly the mentality of being good at either arts or science, but not both. There was this idea that if you were good at math, programming, you would some how be weak at art and music. Growing up, I was really into math, physics, programming... basically anything to do with science. Yet I also had a passion for music.

The music I liked to play was music from the Romantic Era or Neo-Classical music. Songs by Chopin, Liszt, Hisaishi, to name a few. I did not really enjoy Baroque, contrary to popular believe. You see, there was this mentality that since I really enjoyed sciences, somehow I would enjoy the Baroque style of calculated voices and intertwining of them. Yet, I disagree.

This is where the idea of growth mindset comes in. The mind is not a fixed machine that is good at only doing one thing and cannot learn new things. Just because you are talented in one thing does not mean you can not do other things. The brain is a fascinating thing! It is feedback machine that constantly learns and grows with every new experience. To put it more technically, the brain is not simply a top-down mechanism, but also a bottom-up.

The growth mindset, aptly put, is the concept that the brain is a muscle. If you keep training the brain, it can be good at what it is trained to do. Of course, it does not deal with aging and the problems of plasticity becoming lower as people age. However it says that if you keep practicing, with enough time, you can train yourself to do something! In otherwords, discipline is the issue, not an innate capability.

The growth mindset, however, does not say anything about talent. Talent definitely exists, some people are more primed to do certain thing than others. However, by no means does that also mean a talented person does not need to practice! A non-talented person can discpline themselves to the same level of the talented.

Talent is most probably what we see as why people would generalize the idea of science people being bad at art. Generally speaking, we enjoy doing what we are good at because it takes less effort to do so.

With this mindset, we can see why I can thoroughly enjoy playing piano and be decent at it. Because my motivation allowed me to practice daily and it allowed me to excel in that particular field.


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