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  • Writer's picturePierre Papet

blog #10 - The Mindset of An Artist: Get Comfortable with Making Mistakes

I recently took another quick skim through one of my most highly recommended books for creatives: 'The Creative Habit' by Twyla Tharp.

The book is an essential for anyone looking to improve their approach to creative problem solving, the creative process and art making in general.

One of her tips encourages you to dig deeper. To act like an archeologist when approaching your subject matter. To, in her words, 'scrape' every resource possible. Whether that be nature, interviews with people you're close to, songs, eavesdropping - the list goes on.

I mentioned before I'm very interested in the idea of potential, and the transformation of a human being through time. How motivation and mindset can stimulate growth within an individual, with the thought that everyone has a 'best self' lie somewhere inside them.

I recently finished 'Grit' by Angela Duckworth and absolutely loved the subject matter. I feel like I'm now getting closer to right source of inspiration for me. Closer to subjects and fields I find most engaging. Closer to the places where my artwork and expression can flourish out of.

Sticking to Twyla Tharp's advice I decided to dig deeper. I went to the back of 'Grit' and selected one book out of Angela Duckworth's recommended reading list that I thought was most appropriate. Tharp says she likes to approach her research this way - digging further and further back to find inspirations of inspirations of inspirations.

I came across 'Mindset' by Dr. Carol S. Dweck, and I'm throughly enjoying the read so far. In the first few chapters Dweck speaks of two mindsets: The Fixed Mindset and The Growth Mindset.

Benjamin Barber, a political theorist is quoted in the book as saying, 'I don't divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes of failures...I divide the world into learners and non learners.'

Dweck states that 'Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk.'

She argues that '..they never decide it's too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don't worry about making mistakes.'

Synchronicity struck when I was sent a video of my girlfriends nephew who had just learnt to crawl. It's been so great watching the early development of a human being, he's the youngest person I've ever met and the first baby I've had the joy to watch. In the video, you can see that crawling for him isn't easy, but you could see he was willing to challenge himself, to try his very best - unafraid to make mistakes.

He was in the growth mindset.

I think, for us adults, this fear of humiliation and the fixed mindset cripples many individuals with great potential. It causes them to procrastinate, stagnate and not achieve their full potential.

What I've learnt from reading 'Mindset' so far is that it would do us better to harbour more of the growth mindset. To be more fearless and less frighted to make mistakes and encounter error. To humiliate ourselves more often in the name of growth and becoming better, all rounded human beings.

I'm going to do my best to try and do the same.

Thanks for reading,


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