Motivation to Practice: Go With the Flow

There’s a lot to like about the video of pianist Glenn Gould below. I’ve highlighted three things that happen in the video (see clips below).

As the great Robert Krulwich (of Radiolab and NPR) pointed out in a recent post, Gould appears to be deep in a Flow state, practicing Bach’s Partita #2.

Motivation Station: Do Incentives Work?

If you’ve got 10 minutes, check out this quick animation from the good folks at RSAnimate about some interesting studies of motivation presented by Daniel Pink (taken from his book on motivation, Drive).

Even though the topic of this talk on motivation takes a business-oriented bent, I found myself using the ideas to assess my own relationship with practice and with music and with my other chief love, writing. Interesting that for mastery motivation he cites music.

The Habit of Motivation and Barking Against the Bad

Every moment of one’s existence one is growing into more or retreating into less.
~Norman Mailer (1923 – 2007)

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.
~Mary Pickford (1893-1979)

Plumbing the depths of motivation is a long unending process. Previous posts in this blog contain other aspects of motivation, including some theories about why we persist in difficult tasks. Today I want to shoot from the hip and talk about my own informal experience with and opinions about motivation. No theory. No rigorously tested hypotheses beyond those done subconsciously or haphazardly. Just two things that are on my mind.

Evidence of Motivation

In every artist there is a touch of audacity without which no talent is conceivable. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Success is the child of audacity. ~Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You…

Motivation is temporary. Inspiration is permanent.

Fela Kuti’s version of truth was oppositional and nearly militant in its political agenda, while the truth of Louis Armstrong was more joyful and celebratory, but both “spoke” truth as they saw it, and that, I believe, is one of the most worthy goals of a human life.

Born This Way? Nope. Do this instead.

This infographic below from The Practice of Practice is making the rounds. It’s one of the more powerful ideas from the book. The way we think about ability shapes how we approach learning anything. Check it out. Want to print it? No problem! Find the free, high-resolution, printable PDF (11×15) HERE, or on the book’s extras page,…