David Schwartz belief

David J. Schwartz on Releasing Your Creative Powers

Tuesday Quotes are short explorations of music, life, and the daily endeavor of practicing classical guitar. Find more here. Enjoy!

“Belief releases creative powers. Disbelief puts the brakes on.”

David J. Schwartz, PhD

There’s another phrase that says this a different way: “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves.”

Once we decide to believe something (even for a few moments), our minds begin to come up with ideas to support it.

This is true for any thought. If we believe our neighbor is a stellar lady, we’ll find evidence that proves it. Likewise, if we think she’s a menace, we’ll find the evidence for that.

Once we adopt a belief, we see evidence at every turn. This is called the “confirmation bias”. We confirm what we already think.

When we choose to believe that it’s possible to get what we want, our creative mind goes to work on it. We then have ideas of how we can get it. We open to new possibilities.

The four-minute mile is a good example of how belief changes ability. When Roger Bannister did it, others could as well – because they believed it possible.

Does this mean every idea will be workable? No. That’s not the job of the creative mind. Its job is only to create, not evaluate.

We often limit ourselves. We decide we’re too __________ (young, old, untalented, poor, busy, etc.). And as soon as we decide this, we find ample examples of its truth.

But we find just as many examples of the opposite, if we suspend one belief and subscribe to another.

As musicians, we often limit ourselves in this way. We choose to believe in our limitations.

We decide that we’re progressing too slowly. Or that we are extra-challenged by sight-reading, or chords, or whatever.

But we could see equal evidence to support our progress. If we look for signs of improvement, those are there as well.

And as we drop the frustration and stay aware in our practice, we do the work that gets the results we want.

All it takes is to first believe (or even pretend to believe), and then remain open to what comes.

As we act on those ideas, we soon see the proof. Then the new belief grows stronger and we become even more creative.

It’s a virtuous cycle that starts with a conscious choice to believe.

Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.

Allen, your website and teaching methods are excellent. You have an easy going yet encouraging way of inspiring people to learn and practice their art. And you are always accessible to your students to personally answer questions. I appreciate ... that personal touch. The course on reading rhythm and playing higher up the neck I found particularly helpful. God bless you and many thanks.

~ Joe Bazan

-Joe Bazan

I have lost my entire metallic sound while I am playing now. Even my single note practice sounds more melodious, less tinny. [The Woodshed technique practice] has made a major difference in my tone. Thank you.


~ Harlan Friedman

-Harlan Friedman

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