Motivation: Perceived Difficulty

Many of us fail to take the necessary action to achieve our goals because we get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before us. We think that maybe our vision for ourselves is too high. We doubt that we have the skills, time or energy to do the work to reach our goal. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed that we never take the first step. Our mindset can stop us before we begin.

The good news is that you can change your mindset! It seems impossible — right? — to change how you think, but keep reading.

The concept of “growth mindset,” introduced in the early 2000s by psychologist Carol Dweck in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, explains that people have implicit beliefs about their abilities, which really is no surprise. Dr. Dweck reports that those people who believe that ability, intelligence and talent are innate and cannot change over time have a “fixed mindset.” She explains that those who believe that ability changes with learning, training, time and effort have a “growth mindset.”

The process of transitioning your voice requires a proper mindset. If you’re a ”fixed mindset” person you’ll want to try the suggestions we present here, and even if you’re the “growth mindset” type, you’ll benefit from changing your perception of the difficulty of changing your voice.

In this article we’ll present the idea of how to look differently at the complicity of the task in front of you.

Perceived Task Difficulty
The perceived difficulty of a task has a profound effect on our learning. When we think a task is going to be difficult, our expectancy of our success diminishes, meaning that we think we’re going to fail before we even begin. Thus, we don’t put forth the necessary level of effort, so things don’t work out for us. Essentially, predictions of success or failure are determined in part by our perception of the level of difficulty of the task.

Here are a few easy-to use-techniques that will help you change your perception, and thus your mindset.

  • Mental priming has been widely used in sports training with good success, and the principle is easy to apply to your voice training. Some days, especially those days where you feel burned-out with your daily routines, instead of practicing, try this exercise. Imagine (using your auditory memory) that you hear yourself tuning to the A3 (220 Hz) pitch. Stay with this auditory image for a moment. Now imagine hearing your ideal feminine voice speaking the words and phrases that you practice. And finally imagine yourself going through your day speaking in your best feminine voice.
  • Studies show that when fixed-mindset people align their thinking with that of growth-mindset people, they begin to shift their perception regarding the difficulty before them. Ask your inner circle of support people to encourage you with a priming phrase, something like, “You’re approaching your voice training just like other motivated, hardworking people who have succeeded.” Statements like this have had a significant impact on people’s success.

Growth-mindset people exert exceptional effort and they’re highly determined to succeed. They are sometimes referred to as “motivationally gifted.” One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality. Thought experiments are exercises that can help you find a new way to think about yourself. If you believe that the way you think, that the way you see the world is fixed that leads to a host of actions that may not help you to reach your goal. If, however, you believe that your belief system can be cultivated that will lead to different actions. Going down an entirely different road helps you consider things you’ve never considered before. For this thought experiment, try to experience yourself shifting from a fixed to a growth mentality. Ask yourself a few “what if” questions. “What if the concept of pitch were easy to understand, hear, and produce consistently? How would that lead me to keeping myself on-target for my speaking pitch?” Or, “What if being aware of my breath flow were easy for me? How would I use my breath when I spoke?” You get the idea. There is truly a limitless string of questions you could ask yourself so you can shift your mindset. When you feel overwhelmed, pause and take a few minutes to take yourself through mental exercises exploring what choices and actions you would take if your natural qualities were unlimited.