A Better Alternative

The stigma of changing your mind is that it implies weakness. I’d argue that changing one’s mind when faced with new facts and better information is courageous. Rather than ignoring and rejecting out of hand, acknowledging and considering new facts shows strength. On our path to a greater understanding of music on our chosen instrument, it’s our responsibility to consider new information and incorporate it into our understanding. As Marcus Aurelius wrote, “I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.”

It took a while, but eventually I came to understand the concept. I changed my mind. Did I feel regret for my past beliefs? No, I just moved on knowing that now I understood a concept that was closer to the truth, closer to reality. It is human’s ability to adapt that has made us the most dominant species on the planet. To adapt necessarily implies an ability and willingness to change especially when presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If we lacked the ability to adapt and change then we would not be able to incorporate new and better information into our world view.

Think of the alternative. Your instructor teaches you a new concept, you struggle to understand it, but eventually you do get it. You start to hear in other people’s playing the use of this concept. A door of understanding and new perception has been opened. You try to incorporate this concept into your playing but struggle to do so in a musical way. Your instructor suggests that you need to spend more time in the shed, perhaps many hours that could stretch into a year of work. Do you abandon your new understanding and go back to your old ways, or do you persevere and double your efforts to understand the truth? The only person you risk harming with your deceit and ignorance is yourself.

Do you have the desire and motivation to become a better musician? Are you open to new information and insights about how you become a better musician? You don’t necessarily need a thick skin, just a willingness to be honest and open with yourself; question the “facts” that got you to where you are; understand that the way to advance on your path is to search out the nuggets of wisdom from the musicians that traveled this way before you.

Bottom Line: Do you have strength and resolve to actively challenge your beliefs?


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