What is the most destructive question that everyone asks themselves?

What is the most destructive question everyone asks themselves? And how to ask a better one.

And how to ask a better question

“What’s in it for me?”

This is the underlying question almost everyone has running in the back of their minds. Someone makes you an offer and you automatically ask it.

“What’s in it for me?”

Parents ask a variation, “What’s in it for my child, my family?”

It’s perfectly normal and most everyone does it.

 

So why is this question a problem?

Because this question reveals a mindset of lack.

“Gimme, gimme, gimme.”

“Take, take, take.”

It’s the voice of the ego based on fear, insecurity, and a lack of abundance.

 

Victim Mindset

It’s victim thinking, not a hero.

I experienced this growing up.

It was like life was an all you can eat buffet.

But “You better get your money’s worth.”

It’s why cruise ship guests put on their “buffet pants.”

Or the advice of some who say, “don’t fill your plate with the cheap stuff, grab the good stuff.”

Now, what if we could shift this to the opposite?

What if we could change the question?

Not

“What’s in it for me?”

But rather

“How can I help?”

By asking this new question, there is an assumption of abundance. This question assumes you have the power, capacity, and ability to help. It’s a powerful question. You are tapping into your true gifts. It comes from a deeply spiritual place, not your ego. There is more than enough to share.

We’ve all had ups and downs in our lives. I personally experienced many magical miracles. And then flipped to complete despair.

What I’ve noticed is the presence of the first question and not the latter. Mindset is the key.

 

So what is mindset?

A mentor of mine recently gave me an amazingly simple definition:

“Mindset is the voice(s) in your head.”

That’s so true. I hear my parents, teachers, and even people I don’t care for speaking in my head.

 

Who put these voices in our heads?

They get installed automatically throughout life. Parents. Teachers. Relatives. Caregivers. Friends. Facebook. The media…

The thing is, unless you are aware, you are being programmed all the time. If you let it wash over you daily without consciousness, you are installing these voices. The prevailing mindset of lack, poverty, and despair.

The good news is, you can reinstall new voices. It’s like upgrading your internal operating system to the latest, greatest version. You choose your own voice.

Ask Better Questions

Tomorrow, my son turns sixteen. Sixteen! We’re about to start visiting colleges. Think about focus of study. Plan out a course for life.

What I want most for him is to flip the questions. Ask more empowering ones.

 

“How can I help?”

“What can I offer the world?

What was I born to do?

What are my gifts?

What makes me the only one?”

Of course, questioning goes on for a lifetime.

 

We never completely know

We are always discovering.

The journey of life and success IS the journey of discovering the answers to this question. Life is self-discovery. And this question can change your life.

How can I help?

I hope this awakens something inside of you. New voices = new life. This goes beyond parenting, music, education, business, whatever. This is for you. And through you, you will light up the world.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and place it under a basket, but place it on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine, so that they may see your good works…” – Matthew 5:14. the Bible

 

Teaching Strategies For Growth Mindset

What is the most important factor in a student? Many people would say it’s talent, or effort, or persistence, or luck or some combination of these.

Behind all of this is something that is more important – the proper mindset. Recent research (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) has shown that there are two different mindsets among students:
1) intelligence as a fixed, static trait or you got what you got
2) intelligence is a changeable, flowing trait, in other words:  you can learn whatever you put focus and effort to

Most of my music students do have a growth mindset, but may need some extra encouragement.   To do this I need to use a specific way of communicating.

The Dangers of Praise and How To Do It Right

Researchers have discovered that if you just praise the intelligence of the child, there are negative consequences.  So just being positive and saying “Good job!” is actually detrimental and has a backlash because given a new challenge, the child would rather not participate (quit) in order to “save face” and live up to the expected standard.  Rather if the child was praised for their effort, the next harder challenge was met with more effort.

Communicating Learning Goals

Almost daily I have a student who complains
“That’s too hard! I want to just stay on the same song!”

Here’s some things I say and you can too in your classroom, studio or with your own children.  Though I’ve made these specific to music, you can apply a variation of these to any subject.

  • Learning music is like playing a video game. Once you achieved the last challenge, we’re on to the next level.
  • You’re not supposed to know this already, this is brand new.

High Expectations For Forward Motion

  • I KNOW that you can do this, that’s why I’m showing you this.
  • This will be challenging, but I’ve seen you do amazing work before.
  • Remember how hard _____ piece was? And now you can play it so well. This is like that one only better.

Struggling Even With Effort

  • You are not there…YET (emphasis on the yet)
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remind yourself that you can’t do it…YET.
  • Let’s take a break and come back to this tomorrow.
  • I admire your persistence.
  • I appreciate your effort and focus on this.
  • I love how you never gave up on that last piece. Let’s do it here too.

Struggling But May Need Help With Strategy

  • Let’s work on just the one spot giving you trouble
  • What part is giving you trouble? Let’s just look at that.
  • How about we make a plan to learn this piece? You can do section A today and then section B tomorrow and then back to A…

By setting the proper belief system in place at an early age, we can guide our children to future success in music, and in life.

For more information, read this excellent article from Prinicipal Leadership, a magazine aimed at school principals.

For a free download on Growth Mindset Framing. You’ll have to register but it’s free and you can download a pdf.