It was a nightmare dream. I had loaned my cello to a student, and they brought it back to me broken to bits. I mourned over the broken scroll and cracked top, wailing at the misfortune. Right before I bolted awake, someone whispered to me, “Carol Dweck.”

I wondered if Carol Dweck was a forgotten luthier friend who could easily fix my cello, and fell back asleep.

Over my morning tea I googled her name to find out where I had heard her name. Oh yeah! There it is – she is best known for her work on fixed and growth mindset.

Carol has a fantastic 10-minute TED talk that speaks to how we thrive under growth mindset, how the brain loves to learn and form new connections. When I first took a mindset workshop back in 2015, I was humiliated. I had 2 main areas of my life in a fixed mindset: talent and intelligence. I had prided myself on being smart and talented, and that made me feel better, more entitled than others. I had fossilized with pride into a very fixed little box.

In these past 2 years I’ve been able to dissolve some calcification of old beliefs, dogmas, and limitations. I’ve been able to get outside my little box, and I’m discovering the joys of growth. I was good at established paths of school and organizations. Now, to not rely on the approval and prescribed methodology of others is uncharted territory. I’ve been told that all the answers are within me. I can feel that my path is my own, that the itinerary of my life is only to be discovered within.

It’s thrilling and scary. It’s unproven. But it’s mine to follow and my brain is thriving as it forms new connections, as overwhelming as it can be sometimes. The arrhythmia of my heart has disappeared, replaced by growing strength and courage to face new realities and possibilities.

I choose to see my broken cello in the dream as a necessary break from the past, a smashing of the old fixed forms to make room for the new. Carol points me in the right direction: my growth mindset will be the territory from which I dream, create and lead.

What has broken in your life, and how has it created room for you to grow? If you are being called to be courageous, you’re on the right track.

All is change, and all is well.

Be well.

My Cello Broke Open
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One thought on “My Cello Broke Open

  • March 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Well said David, and thanks for sharing! Facing some changes myself, and there is no end to them, right? Wishing you, and all of us facing change, that courage and perseverance to keep going!


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