having a growth mindset as an artist

Having a Growth Mindset as an Artist

For some reason we give ourselves the permission to try new things and grow in our capabilities in them as a child that we don't as we grow older, even if we're trying to acquire a wholly new skill set. It's madness to think that simply by virtue of your age you're entitled to some virtuoso talent at a novel, new experience. There are two mindsets, one that's fixed and believes that your abilities are innate and then there's a growth mindset. I'm convinced that having a growth mindset for artists is the only way to be. Times and artistic tastes are going to change. Your work and how to best distribute it are going to change. To reject these truisms is to be at war with reality.



I certainly believe that people have predispositions to being skilled at a given task, what we would call talent, but it's routinely born-out in athletics and the arts, that those that are naturally gifted and strive to be the top of their craft frequently are. Innate talent can only take you so far and such individuals are likely to plateau without the disciplined work that's prerequisite to become a true master of one's craft.


If there's skill that you think would enrich your life for being adept at it, I'd urge you to take that child-like approach of the enjoyment of the activity regardless of the outcome and to work through it to the best of your present skills. Think back to most things you may have tried in your childhood and you'll likely have produced nowhere remotely near professional results, whether that was drawing, coloring, or whatever creative expression you attempted early on, but you likely enjoyed making the art making process and maybe you were lucky enough to have some kind adults lie and praise what you were making. When attempting new art forms as an adult, after a multitude of tries, fifty, one-hundred, then you would have some grounds to honestly determine the effectiveness of your efforts because while your critical eye may be honed as an adult, your muscle memory for a new task is often just developing.


For all the myriad of ways you can spend your time developing new capabilities, there comes a time when you need to narrow-in and focus on an array of abilities that are the most worthwhile and fulfilling to you. You could learn how to code and make custom websites, but if just creating a website through a templated site such as this Squarespace blog you're currently reading accomplishes the vast majority of what you want it to do, then the choice is fairly obvious. While you can likely learn how to do a great many things, at some point you're going to have to pick and lane, a focus, and prioritize what capacities help reach your goals from that perspective. The number of distractions that you can find are infinite and many creatives find some amount of constraints to be liberating in their ability to focus on the important tasks at hand as opposed to the infinite canvas stretched-out in all directions.


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