Abundance Thinking: A Scarcity in Classical Music?

I’ve been doing lots of thinking about what an ugly business classical music can be–backstabbing, competitive, and just plain nasty, and I realised that all of this can be traced to scarcity thinking. Formerly I knew there was a huge difference in attitude between Europe and the USA in classical music, but it wasn’t until I started thinking about this in terms of abundance thinking that the differences really became clear. Below I’ve listed a few to get you started, and I hope my collaborators can think of more!

Situation Scarcity Thinking Abundance Thinking
Someone joins who is better than you. I have to make myself look better, or make them look worse. Wow! Now is my opportunity to learn a lot from this person!
You manage a group: someone who is much more skilled than the rest of the group auditions for the group. This person will make the rest of us look bad. What a wonderful resource for everyone here! I wonder if she or he would be willing to take on a certain amount of responsibility?
Someone gets a role that you wanted. I hope she or he fails. If I study her or him, I can learn what the directors wanted, and have a better chance of getting a role the next time.
You get passed over for a performance/solo/selection. I can’t believe they gave it to her or him! Now I can use this time to improve.
You don’t pass an audition. They didn’t give me a chance/It wasn’t fair/They’re biased. I wasn’t right for the role, or I wasn’t what they had in mind, but I got the chance to audition for them, and perhaps they’ll keep me in mind for a future role.
You have a direct competitor. I have to get rid of her or him! I wonder how we can work together?
A competitor leaves your group. Good. Now we can get back to work. I wonder if they have any suggestions for us to improve?

I encourage you, the next time this or a similar situation happens, after you’ve had your knee-jerk reaction of scarcity thinking, to reframe the situation with abundance thinking, and see what happens . . .

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