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10 Reasons Why People Who Learn Music Are More Likely To Be Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Learn Music Are More Likely To Be Successful

I have always been a proponent for music education, and thus am happy to see that more and more people are learning an instrument these days.

I myself became a drummer at around the age of 11, and have played ever since. I am no savant, but I can play just about anything (except perhaps the closing solo in the movie Whiplash).

As a result, I have always maintained that learning how to play an instrument is beneficial. I did not have any proof, I just had first hand experiences that proved that to be the case. Nowadays however, there is a mountain of evidence suggesting that music education is not only good for you, but nearly essential if you want to be successful in life.

What is it about musicians that gives them an edge over others? Read on.

1. They Are More Creative

Recent research has shown that many successful politicians, businessmen, and more were trained at a young age to be a musician of some kind. Whether it be of a piano, clarinet, or saxophone, it didn’t really matter.

What does matter is that these people credit their music education with making them more creative. Indeed, as Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) once stated, music allows you to “look beyond what currently exists and express yourself in a new way” (NYT).

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As a drummer, I can attest to that. So much of music is about creating something different, and breaking mental barriers. All of which necessarily bleeds into other aspects of your life.

2. Their Brains Develop Differently

As many studies have shown, playing an instrument tends to have a multitude of beneficial effects on the brain, many of which are especially visible in children.

Indeed, those who start from an early age (around 9 to 11) have “significantly more grey matter volume” within their heads (Parenting Science). While this doesn’t necessarily mean that musicians are smarter, it does demonstrate that their brains are making unique and interesting connections and associations that those who do not play instruments might lack.

3. They Connect With Others Better

Music is often thought of as a way to connect different cultures, ideas, and perspectives. Even when you are unfamiliar with a location, you can always use your ability to play music to get to know those around you, and establish connections that may have been impossible to create otherwise.

This can be a crucial skill to have in any number of professions, especially those that require you to immerse yourself in a location that you are unfamiliar with.

4. They Are Better At Math

I am not sure this one applies to me, but it has long been known that there is some kind of connection between math and music.

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This likely has to do with the fact that both deal with analyzing puzzles and finding patterns in order to find solutions. If you can get a sense of the ebb and flow of music and musical language, mathematical concepts should begin to make more sense. Being better at math is beneficial for a number of reasons, if only because so many new jobs in this day and age rely on that skill.

5. They Have A Better Sense Of Rhythm

As a drummer, I know how to keep time in a song and play to the beat. In life, I use those same skills to maintain some order in my schedule.

Additionally, when you are a musician, it is easier to get into the groove of things and accomplish repetitive tasks at a consistent rate. (It also helps with stuff like dancing!)

Thus, learning how to maintain a steady pace not only makes for a good musician, but a more productive and effective worker as well.

6. They Are Obsessive

Any musician, whether they be a novice or an expert, has to be just a little obsessive to cultivate their craft. Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook, stated that “musicians and top professionals share ‘the almost desperate need to dive deep'” (NYT).

To become proficient at playing music requires a lot of time and dedication. If you are willing to put effort into that, you will likely tackle other things with that same gusto.

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7. They Are More Likely To Have A Higher IQ

This is especially true if they started playing music at a young age, like say around 6 years old. Indeed, one study found that kids who took up an instrument around this age showed a greater increase in their IQ compared to those who did not (Science Net Links).

Suffice it to say, having more intelligence to work with than your peers is often crucial in gaining the upper hand.

8. They Process Speech More Efficiently

Becoming successful requires that you be a good listener, and musicians are groomed to acquire that skill early on in their development.

Indeed, research has shown that learning how to play music has a beneficial effect on the areas of your brain that process sounds — an effect that lasts even into old age (Washington Post).

Listening is an important skill to have, as the ability to make sense of speech and complicated strings of words and sentences is crucial to success.

9. They Are Conditioned To Work Hard For Results

While it isn’t always true that those who work hardest in life are the most successful, such is usually the case in regard to musicians.

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Indeed, one expert stated that an amazing thing about learning music is that “if you work hard enough, it does get better” (NYT).

Music thus conditions you to believe that working harder gets results, and while that may not always be true in everything, it does lead to you pushing yourself harder in order to see measurable improvements in all aspects of your life.

10. They Have More Self-Control

While you might think of musicians as loose cannons (certain rock stars come to mind), those cases aren’t typical.

Indeed, learning how to play an instrument and read music is an immensely difficult task when you first start out, and requires a lot of mental focus. And, once you are skilled at playing music, it takes both talent and self-control to keep rhythm, to maintain a beat, and to otherwise stay on the musical rails, so to speak.

Translate that ability to remain dedicated and focused on the task at hand to the real world, and it is easy to see why so many musicians end up being successful in other fields.

Do you play an instrument? Has it effected your life in a beneficial way? Comment below!

Featured photo credit: Snare Drum/Vladimir Morozov via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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