“Who am I?”, “Who do I want to be?” – These are valuable questions especially for adolescents. A world of seemingly endless opportunities offers many possibilities for self-fulfillment and, at the same time, makes it increasingly difficult for some to find their path.
Too much freedom and too many choices can be confusing. Knowing the WHY? behind what we do can help us navigate the complexities of the modern world.
If we can find our purpose in life, we will notice that things get a whole lot easier.
In his book “The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life,” William Damon, one of the world’s leading scholars of human development and Professor at Stanford University writes “Purpose is the number one, long-term motivator in life.”
He describes people who found their purpose as follows: “The purposeful are those who have found something meaningful to dedicate themselves to, who have sustained this interest over a period of time, and who express a clear sense of what they are trying to accomplish in the world and why.
They have found a cause or ultimate goal that inspires their efforts from day to day and helps them fashion a coherent future agenda. They know what they want to accomplish and why, and they have taken concerted steps to achieve their ambitions.”
In short, purpose “gave them energy; it gave them satisfaction when they accomplished their goals; and it gave them persistence when they ran into obstacles.”
In his work, he set out to examine how young people find their purpose and if it’s something they “find” or “create.”
In the chapter on “Parenting for Purpose” William walks us through nine things parents can do to help cultivate purpose in their children’s lives.
He even goes so far as to say that “the urgent project for parents today, in this world of increasing economic, cultural, and social uncertainty, is to help their children gain a wholesome sense of direction that will carry them through the minefields of drift, confusion, apathy, anxiety, fear, and self-absorption that threaten their generation.
I am also convinced that the key to this sense of direction is finding a life purpose. While a parent cannot simply give a purpose to a child, and indeed any too forceful or controlling effort to do so is likely to have adverse repercussions, nonetheless there is much that a parent can do.”
Today, I would like to take a closer look at one of these aspects, as I find that music education at Modern Music School does just that. Damon calls this aspect “Encouraging an entrepreneurial attitude.”
His research shows that “For the highly purposeful…, entrepreneurship was a stronger common factor than usual measures of success such as school achievement.” How cool is that?!
Now, when I say that music education at Modern Music School helps adolescents to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit, I’m not saying that we want to train our students to become professional musicians.
It’s more about encouraging attitudes or dispositions such as having a vision, making plans, being ready to take risks and deal with – all valuable qualities beyond our professional lives.
7 “entrepreneurial” qualities we promote in music lessons:
1. The ability to set clear goals and know and utilize one’s skills to achieve it
The trainers at the Modern Music School help their students define clear goals, make realistic plans and verify if they’re getting closer to their goals.
2. An optimistic, can-do attitude
At Modern Music School, we design classes that let students carry home a sense of achievement every time. We challenge them, push them to their limits and help them grow beyond what they were previously able to do.
3. Persistence in the face of obstacles and difficulties
When learning an instrument, everybody will hit their limits at some point. Just roll up you roll up your sleeves and keep going. At Modern Music School we show our students that challenges are fun. By making sure that we never ask too much of them, they learn to perceive challenges as an opportunity for growth and learn to feel safe outside of their comfort zone.
4. A tolerance—or more, even an appetite—for risk
If you want to grow, you have to be prepared to go for things that aren’t guaranteed. We give our students the opportunity to play on stage and in front of an audience, for example. Even if you’re well prepared, things can go wrong. We help our students to deal with setbacks – or celebrate their successes!
5. Resilience in the face of failure
Setbacks and failures are an integral part of life. The difference between growing through them or giving up lies in our attitude and self-compassion. At Modern Music School, students learn to regard failures as learning opportunities. They learn to be compassionate with themselves and keep a positive and to work positively, consolingly and motivating to work towards their long-term goals.
6. Showing grit. The determination to achieve measurable results
This, again, is about specific and measurable goals. Grit is still a hot topic these days and refers to the combination of enthusiasm, goal orientation and perseverance that music students develop when they prepare for concerts and which are key skills for long-term success throughout life.
7. Creativity and inventiveness on the path to achieving your goals
The essence of the entrepreneur!! Creating new things with limited resources and creative ideas. At Modern Music School, music lessons are never about perfecting your techniques or theory. They’re about using your current skills to make awesome music while getting better and having fun.
“A path to purpose – How young people find their calling in life” (William Damon)
“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” (Angela Duckworth)