7 Characteristics for Self-Improvement: Take It From a Dancer
History shows that a surge in the popularity of dance occurs at critical times shortly after wars like the Charleston craze during the twenties after the great war, followed by the rock 'n roll scene after World War Two. The dance profession today is almost as revered as that of a surgeon. Its rising success, as an art-form, as entertainment, and as a healing factor, may be a reaction to the challenging times we live in. There is plenty of reason to want to forget and dance.
But do a typical dancer's traits go deeper than the cheering up effect? We are not asking you to get up and dance to forget your troubles. Here we examine what makes a dancer tick and suggest seven typical dancers' characteristics as a guideline for anyone, dancer or non-dancer alike, interested in self-improvement.
7 Characteristics for Self-Improvement
Here we list the seven characteristics that make a successful dancer. These characteristics may be adopted by any individual wishing to improve their performance in any walk of life.
- Aiming for perfection
- Survival Skills
- Diversity and change
- Sharing - Teaching is Learning
So when you are ever in doubt about your ability to achieve, or your self-confidence, or your potential, you can use these skills and adapt them to your own circumstances. Once learned and practiced, these wonderful characteristics are carried forward for life.
Since early education, dancers know that without self-discipline and self-improvement nothing can be achieved. For a dancer, self-discipline is the call of the day. There are two secrets to achieve self-discipline:
The goal can only be achieved via many laborious hours and years of sometimes boring and painful practice. How to persevere and not give up? By telling yourself that if you did give up now, all that effort and work already invested would be wasted. For that reason, a dancer's self-discipline and perseverance motto is simply: "I carry on because I started it!"
Such a motto is valid in any profession or endeavor to achieve a goal. Use it to improve your mindset about self-discipline.
I carry on because I started it!
2. Aiming for Perfection
The competition in dance is horrendous. Standing at the barre each day, every dancer wants to lift a leg higher than the person in front. To be chosen for a role, a dancer wants to be able to turn more pirouettes, jump higher than the rest, and show special performance talents. During daily training practice and rehearsal, dancers always aim to improve day by day to become better at their job.
Similarly, what ever your job or your project entails, be like a dancer. Work as hard as you can. Aim to be a little better today than yesterday.
3. Survival Skills
With an average retirement age of around 30, a dancer's career is very short. Upon facing middle age, a dancer has to learn the dance of life all over again in a new profession. No problem, a dancer is used to working hard to the limits of capabilities.
If smart, the dancer will use existing skills and re-train as a dance teacher, fitness trainer, yoga teacher, ballet master or choreographer. Some become hairdressers, masseurs, physical therapists etc. A dancer's theatrical experience, what with all the music, art and scenery, is an invaluable background for becoming the most stylish interior designer and home maker.
The key to survival in a competitive age is adaptability. Use the skills you already have and apply them to a new situation.
Use Existing Skills
Working in a dance company or in any company for that matter is like being a part of a big family. Working and touring together day in day out creates a sometimes tense atmosphere which could easily turn sour at the best of times. In a dance company, such looming conflict is usually resolved by play and humor which goes a long way towards easing the pain and troubles encountered along the way to success.
Like a dancer, you too can retain a youthful attitude, choosing a good laugh over an argument to overcome obstacles.
5. Diversity and Change
Diversity is a dancer's best friend. Facing huge competition, dancers have little chance of getting a job unless they are highly skilled and also trained in several dance styles. By accepting, learning and trying out other styles and sister disciplines, a dancer becomes more complete, more usable by a choreographer.
There is such a vast pool of resources, ranging from yoga, Lindy-hop and Street Dancing, to martial arts, and gymnastics, plus several eastern dance styles, all adding to the pool of possibilities.
Like a dancer, you too can be open to diversity and change in all its many forms and learn new skills, learn to adapt in a new environment, professionally or otherwise.
Adapt and Welcome Change
A few decades ago it would have been inconceivable to mix classical ballet and modern dance. They were two enemy camps like republicans and democrats – either you were crazy enough to dance on your toes, or you had more common sense. Today, dance companies are liberated from such dogma. Ballet opened its doors to other physical languages like modern dance, yoga, martial arts, and gymnastics to name but a few. Dancers today not only tolerate, they welcome new ideas and techniques. They love to learn how to dance with more new steps, more challenging new tricks and moves. The communication and competition between various disciplines, getting rid of intolerance, became an win-win situation. It brought dance, once the poor Cinderella of the arts, to the upper echelons of culture and entertainment.
What can be learned from this approach for an individual interested in self improvement? Be tolerant and open to new ideas, techniques and practices previously not considered.
Virtuoso Street Dancers
7. Sharing - Teaching Is Learning
In business, everything is about financial profits through beating the competition and applying the law of the jungle: Eat or be eaten. In contrast, dancers have learned by necessity, since ballet school, to seek excellence within themselves and to freely share their skills for mutual gain. Growing and learning never ceases and teaching is just as much a part of the sharing process as learning. Dancers have a healthy competitive urge with an emphasis on curiosity and a desire to freely share and learn from their brothers and sisters. Through the exploration and acceptance of many new styles and different ways of moving, dancers, in all areas of the profession, have evidently gained in ardor, physical vocabulary, communication skills and virtuosity.
The following video exemplifies super human achievements from sharing the skills found in classical ballet, gymnastics and acrobatics.
What lesson can be learned from this? Success is achieved by becoming the best that you can be rather than concentrating on balance sheets.
Live Like a Dancer
A dancer's characteristics consists of self-discipline, aiming for perfection (but being humble enough to know that there will always be someone better), survival skills, playfulness, diversity and tolerance plus a welcoming attitude towards change, and freely sharing your findings. Such positive characteristics provide a successful working model for anyone seeking self improvement.
What do you think? Tell us in a comment below.