February 21, 2024

Ep #6: Art Is Subjective

I’m deeply passionate about the idea that art is subjective. It’s a concept that sits at the foundation of how I think about many things. There are tons of different variables when it comes to art, and there is art in every part of everything that we come across if we just decide to look at things that way.

As performers, art is our lives. We judge everything around us based off our own subjective experience. If you’re pursuing a life where you’re going out into the world and comparing yourself to other artists, you’re going to encounter some challenging emotions. But when you fully understand that your differences are what make you excellent, everything starts to change.

Tune in this week to discover why art is subjective and how comparing yourself to other artists is causing you more problems than you might think. I’m discussing why comparison is death, why being different is your superpower, and how to stop comparing yourself to others and focus solely on yourself.

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What You will discover:

  • How artists get stuck in a place of comparison with others in the industry.
  • What’s going on in our brains when we judge the things around us.
  • Why there’s nothing wrong with being judgmental, as long as we use our judgment in the best way.
  • How we’ve been conditioned to focus on the people around us and not focus on ourselves.
  • Why there are no rewards for giving other people your focus.
  • How to use the idea that art is subjective to excel as a performer.

Listen to the full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:


Welcome to The Confident Performer, the only podcast that guides ambitious, driven performers and entrepreneurs to show up authentically and confidently both on and off stage. If you are ready to make an impact in your life and community and start living your most amazing, empowered life, you are in the right place. You already have what it takes to make it, you just need to see it. And I’m here to show you how. You ready? Let’s go.

Good day, sunshines, and welcome to episode six of The Confident Performer, Art is Subjective. I am so deeply passionate about this angle and really it’s the foundation of how I like to think about a lot of things, that there are a million right ways. And the aspect of art being subjective really leans into that concept of there being so many different variables on what art is and how it appears and how it shows up. And that there really, truly is art in everyday life. Every bit of everything that we choose to look at is so artistically inspired if we just decide to look at it that way.

And in that angle it is looking at a quiet car drive. Some people don’t know this, but I typically don’t drive with any sound. And when I was younger, I remember rolling down the windows and opening my sunroof and then letting my hair dry because that was my blow dryer. And I remember, loving listening to music just so loud. And if my daughter’s in the car we’ll absolutely do that same thing, which is so funny. She gravitates toward doing that.

But then I think about, sometimes those moments of quiet. It allows me to take in other things, visual art. I look at kind of even the landscape of where I’m driving and really kind of pay attention to the art in all of that. But because art truly is my life and I get to watch it and considerably judge it more or less. And I want to kind of talk on just a little tangent on the word judge, our primitive response, that primitive response in the brain that is seeking to protect us, that is the judgmental component of our brain.

So it’s funny because I remember early on when someone would say, “You’re so judgmental.” And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, how dare you. That is so rude.” And once I obviously learned to manage my mind, I absolutely am. I’m so judgmental. And we all are so judgmental. And the most important thing to think of is, what are we doing with that judgment? Are we trying to influence others? Are we trying to change other people’s opinions? Are we trying to say that our way is the right way? How are we utilizing those judgments or passing those judgments in a way that could benefit our life?

And not being oblivious to the fact that we all are judgmental, but the truth of the matter is, at any time we’re watching or looking at art or feeling art or whatever it may be. The judgmental, primitive side of us just quickly responds with, I like that. I do not like that. That is so ugly. Why is this so uncomfortable? This is so weird. And interesting responses like that, that is the primitive brain absolutely judging. Now, you can go into the cognitive processes of why don’t I like that? Well, I don’t like that because it actually reminds me of this one girl that was always really rude to me, or I don’t like that because that’s just not my favorite color.

And the aspect of art being subjective, if we transfer that, if art is life and life is art, which is how I like to look at life. Everything in life is subjective. It’s opinion based. It’s foundations and beliefs based. So my narrow perspective of how I was born, how I learned things, how I grew up, what I learned to this date, it’s all subjective. So even when people say, “Well, I’m going to give you my objective opinion.” How? How are you going to give me your objective opinion? Your opinion is subjective. My opinion is subjective. Art is truly subjective.

Now, I say this for my artists especially, if you are pursuing a life where you’re going out into the world and you’re comparing yourself to other artists, that is going to challenge you longer than is necessary. And I mean that because when I start training my artists, it takes me about a year and a half to get into the space where the artist truly understands that their differences, their unique qualities are what make them who they are and the excellent artist that they are. Because so many artists or young artists or individuals are influenced or affected by other people in the industry.

And they think, well, I love the sound of Billie Eilish. Great. I love the sound of Billie Eilish. I love her writing. I love her and her brother’s work together as a team. I love all of it. However, they already exist. So being a knock-off or a potential replica of something that is actually done very well, I never recommend, I never recommend. So in that mindset, if I encourage the artist who’s influenced by an amazing artist, I will still have them decide what makes them different than that artist happily influenced by.

But what is the difference in that person as opposed to our pre-existing, beautiful, wonderful Billie Eilish? And that is what I encourage every single person to do. And I really stand on the foundation that comparison is death. I know so many young artists who find themselves comparing themselves to so many other people to their detriment, 100% to their detriment. I encourage all of my artists that I work with to focus on themselves. And we are not socially conditioned and sometimes even dependent on our households and how we’re raised, we’re not conditioned to focus on ourselves a lot.

A lot of times we’re taught to focus on other people. How are other people feeling? How are other people around you adjusting to you and what you have to offer? And I actually used to be that way. So I used to be so focused on people pleasing and making sure everyone around me was so comfortable. But what that did was, it was a detriment to my own self because oftentimes I would be like, “Well, they need a seat.” And so I would give up my own seat and then they were comfortable but then I was uncomfortable.

So it was one of those, why am I doing this? What do I win? No one’s popping out of the side like, “Hey, you know what? That was the coolest, sweetest thing I ever saw. And here is your trophy for doing that. And have a great rest of your day.” So that doesn’t happen. And it doesn’t happen, I mean, I’m a mom, and I have a son who is almost 19, and I have a daughter who is nine. And then I had my career baby in the middle and then now I have my career child now.

So when you put energy and time and effort into all of those things, no one’s popping out and being like, “Here is your award for being the best, most amazing world balancing mom and entrepreneur and performer.” And no, that’s not a thing. So giving ourself the focus of the award of falling into the grace that we are a particular special version that we have to offer the world, that we and all of our infinite humanness, we’ll absolutely have good days, we’ll absolutely have bad days.

That goes the same for any artist anywhere that the humanness of our life will always be in this zone of subjectivity. Some days people can come across us and think, oh my gosh, I have never met or seen a better artist than that person. Some will pass by and be like, “Oh, they’re not good, they are not good at singing.” And when people will come through, they’ll ask often, “Do you think they have a great voice?” Yeah, sure, I think everyone has a great voice in a certain realm. So I believe that our voice is a muscle and I believe that because it is, but there are the science based things.

So there are components of that that if exercised it can change, if exercised it can become stronger. A lot of different foundations of the voice can be changed or adapted in order to increase efficiency and breath control and overall beautiful sound. And you can hear this, for example, when you watch a public speaker. When you hear someone speaking you can hear their message far easier, and the easier they speak. So the more effortless their level of speech is, the more a message has a tendency to hit.

Now, if you find someone speaking and they’re kind of in a leader format, whether they’re doing a keynote or whether they’re running a workshop, whatever it may be. I want you to think about this. And now, this is going to be forever in your brain and haunting you if you do attach to this concept. Watch the artist or the person speaking. And just kind of study if their delivery is strong, if their delivery is intentional, if their delivery is confident or if their breathing is shallow.

If their breathing is kind of up into their chest and they are having a tough time making sentences or forming phrases or trying to catch their breath. And watching that, what that makes you feel. Now, I know sitting and watching so many different speakers on so many different platforms because I do this as a profession. I call it my occupational hazard. I can watch someone speak and someone can take away the message and it is so valuable to them. And because of my foundations, my beliefs, my subjectivities, what I’m doing and what I’m observing is I’m observing the delivery. I’m observing how confident are they in their delivery.

And then sometimes the message is lost on someone like me because of my occupational hazard, again, making art and life very subjective. So I want you to think about that and just kind of imagine yourself the next time you do have an opportunity to see a speaker live, especially, watch their shoulders. And if you are listening to this and you are a public speaker and you need help, reach out to me. That is absolutely what I love doing. I see so many amazing people in this world trying to truly find their voice.

And we’ll talk more in other episodes about finding your voice and what that looks like, what that feels like, and the impact that has on the work that you choose to do in the world. And I want you to think about this, any time you go up and you have the opportunity to speak a message that you are passionate about in front of someone and someone’s given you a platform. I want you to decide as that speaker that what you have to say is truly valuable, truly empowering, truly life changing. That changes the automatic delivery of what you are trying to do.

The art is subjective. I could watch that speech and I will sometimes not even know what you’re saying. But your comfort, your power, your confidence is so intriguing to me that then I’ll begin to tune into the message. This person is taking themselves very serious. They know exactly what they are talking about. They feel very connected to their platform and then you got me and sometimes I don’t even care what you’re saying. It is the delivery and how I receive it. That so rings true for communication, everyday communication.

Some people who have met me in person have referenced or given me information that I come across very strong. Now, some people can take that as an insult. Some people can take that as a, oh way, good for me. And what I’ve noticed is, I’m very aware of my confidence in social settings. I watch other people. I love watching other people, and even the primitive response of judgment, I don’t attach anything negative. So I don’t say, “That girl’s doing this. So she’s a bad person.” I watch people, I call them their everyday coping mechanisms.

And oftentimes I just kind of study them a lot in what their selected coping mechanisms are. And you can see people who are so inside their head, it’s always, again, that other occupational hazard. I want to help literally everyone. Just do a little confidence hack here or there to make that person feel more comfortable in their skin or more comfortable in social settings or more comfortable if they do have a tendency to suffer from social anxiety. And those things are really, really important to me.

So I want you to next time you think about judging any form of art, realize the word subjective and realize what that really means, that if you were to take the understanding, there are a million right ways. If you were to say one of the ways that you have learned and been conditioned in this life is only one, one way. It doesn’t make it the rightest, it doesn’t make it the winningest. It doesn’t make it the losingest. All of these perspectives that we are given, the only way we grow conceptually is if we entertain that other people’s opinions, others subjective mindsets may be right, and they may be wrong.

I have been wrong a lot of times. Do I love it? No. Not very many people too. But I’ve grown more comfortable being wrong. I am fascinated by people who sign up to do the work. And I have this example, our mayor in our city, our beautiful city of Bakersfield, her name is Karen Goh. I had the pleasure to partner with her organization, Garden Pathways about 15 years ago. I’ve referenced that before.

And I’m still partnered with them in creation of camps for kids. And we have kind of grown and expanded that this past year and doing some work out in the community with some schools that are in the lowest quartile and greatly underserved in a lot of ways. And it’s been very, very exciting having that connection with Garden Pathways with Karen Goh. Karen Goh works tirelessly and truly is connected to making as many things as she can in a lifetime, better. Garden Pathways’ slogan is ‘changing lives through loving, mentoring relationships,’ and it truly is.

And she has been an amazing mentor to me. And I watch her, as someone said recently in business, she works 25 hours of the 24 hour day, and she truly does. And that is so impressive to me. Someone who signs up to do the work, signs up to just make a difference in a better way, to positively enhance something. Now, subjectively that is my opinion, because I hold value around that. Others could see it and absolutely judge why she does what she does, her intentions, the reasons behind all of the work that she is doing.

Now, would it make them right? Does it make me right because of my opinion? No. Art and life are always subjective. So when you think about being the strongest performer, when you think about being the best performer, I want you to focus on what that means for you. If you are the strongest and best performer for yourself, what does that actually look like? I get to do that, and I get to break down those components with the artists that I work with. I love that so much.

It’s probably one of my most favorite parts of my job is finding those unique individual qualities in each person. I can see them. I can see them when they come in. I get super excited. I have some who are great thinkers. I have some who are great strategists. I have some who are highly immersed in pop culture and what’s around them and they let that drive a lot of their energy and their choices and different things like that. But again, even that, all subjective, that’s all subjective, doesn’t make them right, doesn’t make them wrong.

Get that attached concept to right and wrong out of your brain especially as you’re exploring the options and opportunity of what life and art can bring you as a performer. Now, I have a lot of reviews that are saying they are not artists, people who are not artists, that are listening to this. Thank you so much, first and foremost. Second of all, everything in life is transferable. That is a foundation that I do buy into. And I truly believe that confidence in performance is transferable in life.

I guarantee you, some of the tips that I give on here will make you more comfortable in public, will make you more strong as a mother, will make you more diligent and hardworking and connected and tenacious and a heavier intensity in passion. A lot of those things are very, very important to me. And it’s been really, really cool to kind of watch the evolution of people’s feedback and whatnot.

So I did say that I was going to do some giveaways. Now, I have three singers baskets, and in the baskets, there’s a Stanley cup. There are some lozenges that kind of keep the mouth moist. There is my favorite cough drop that is the cough drop of kind of the traveling singers, the Ricola syrup square. And it’s just my favorite, and I use it all the time. I know so many people, that’s their go to without the menthol. And I’m obviously not sponsored by them or anything but gravitate toward that, then I have a steamer in there.

So I’m going through a few different reviews, and I’m going to select three different people and based upon the reviews, I am going to read a few of them. I do not know who these people are. So I will just read AWSMRN2000, and this says, “Not just for performers. Amy is fun and insightful and full of wisdom for anyone and everyone. She has the knowledge and skills to not only help you grow as a performer, but also as a complete person. Her podcast is for everyone who just wants to improve their mindset no matter what they do. I’m nowhere near being a singer, but what she has to say definitely applies to my life. Also, she’s amazing.”

Well, I don’t know who that person is, but I can tell by the review that they are incredibly smart. Okay, I kid, I kid in all my humbleness. Okay, let’s see. This one, “This podcast is fantastic, the handles still don’t have growth. This podcast has really opened my eyes on what it truly is to be confident in not only performing, but also in real world situations. I feel if I apply everything talked about during each episode into not only my performing, but also life in general, it would substantially improve my performance. This podcast is one of the only 10 out of 10s I’ve ever listened to. I would highly recommend giving it a listen.” Also another incredibly bright and smart person.

And then AZJune1. “This is motivating and thought provoking. Captivating, energizing, impactful from the moment, Amy Adams welcomes you in as she is truly genuine and forthright. She delivers content that is applicable and relatable to all with purpose that you feel she is speaking directly to you. Well delivered, insightful, with relevant facts. Amy shares personal anecdotes, making it beyond fun. Truly inspiring. I highly recommend to anyone as she challenges you to be the best version of yourself.” Yes, she does. Yes, she does, AZJune1. Thank you so much. Okay, so those are my winners.

Those are the people who win a prize, and that sweet singers basket is all yours. So I will get your contact information and I will send you that basket and make sure that you get that. So thank you and congratulations to all of our winners. I am just truly grateful that this platform has allowed me to reach people and influence and inspire their lives in ways that I had hoped for. Again, art is subjective. Decide how you want to live your life. Decide that your dreams are worth it.

And decide that every bit of your journey will have its highs and lows. It will have the days of wow, that is beautiful, wow, that is impressive. And then days of, what in the actual crap is going on there and that is okay too. I want you to love yourself. I want you to give yourself some grace for growth every single day. I want you to recognize the human components of you and realize as Kara Loewentheil says, how very human of me.

And I want you to really acknowledge those moments that that is just okay. And then some days that is exceptional work, all comprised of goodness, ups and downs, but making it a beautiful life all the same. Thank you so much, take care and be well.

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Thank you for listening to today’s episode of The Confident Performer. If you want to learn more about living your truth and showing up as your most authentic, beautiful self, visit www.amyadamscoaching.com. See you next week!

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