One of the most important mindsets I’ve adopted is summed up in a few words: Dance smarter, not harder. After more than a decade of dancing as my career, I’ve learned that having this mindset is key when it comes to being more efficient with your dance.
In this post, I’ll explain why it’s important and where I learned it from, but first let me ask you this:
What’s the most common thing dancers strive for?
I started a Twitter poll on May 3, 2018 to ask my followers (who are mostly dancers or people interested in dance) what they strive for most when it comes to dancing. The most popular answer was that dancers strive to improve their craft. I’m not surprised, because I too, want to continually improve my skills. Here comes a big “but.”
BUT, if you ONLY focus on dance skills and nothing else, this will lead to an unsuccessful dance career. PERIOD. I repeat:
If you ONLY focus on dance skills and nothing else, this WILL lead to an unsuccessful dance career.
You’re probably saying, “Can! Are you saying I shouldn’t try to get better? Are you saying I shouldn’t try to ‘go hard?'” I urge you to take a moment and think about what else a dancer might need to be successful.
What I’m saying is, you have to be more than a good dancer to be successful. You need to learn how to think in the right mindset and learn other valuable skills. Most successful dancers understand that it takes more than dance skills to have a sustainable dance career.
Let’s do a quick case study. I’m gonna do some Googling. Go ahead, you can Google this too. Let’s Google search together. Google: The richest dancer in the world. At the time of this writing, this was the result: Coming in at number 1 is a man named Michael. Not Jackson. Not Jordan. Michael Flatley.
With $288 million in net worth, Michael Flatley holds the Guinness world record for “highest paid dancer in the world.” How did he make all this money? Was it JUST from dancing? I’m betting it wasn’t.
Besides dancing, I believe he became successful because of the way he thinks and the way he marketed himself to build his brand. He wanted to do things that no dancer has done and he made the claim that “he will dance until the day he dies.” He dreamed BIG. The point is, he knew how to do more than just dance, he knew how to dance smart AND he had a whole lot of confidence.
By focusing his efforts on creating shows, selling tickets, marketing his brand, doing interviews, producing videos, writing a book, and many more things that don’t involve actual dancing, he’s created a huge name for himself.
If he’s the richest, does that mean he’s the best dancer in the world?
In my opinion, no one is the best dancer because there’ll always be someone better, and it’s super-duper obviously subjective like any other art form depending on what boundaries you set.
Do YOU have to be the best to be successful?
Absolutely not. But you can try being the best version of YOU and that’s the version that’s confident, smart, efficient, determined, and an awesome dancer. I’m not saying that these things will guarantee you a great career but ALL of these traits (and more) come in handy when you start working other great people.
Working with others is another thing you’ll need to know how to do and I’ll explain why in the next post. My point is, dancing is only a small part of the equation for Successful Dancing. The more important part is the MINDSET and the DRIVE to go beyond dance.
I know you’ve heard THIS before,
“Work smarter, not harder”
Sound familiar? I first heard it from a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It teaches you the mindset of rich people and how to work smarter. It’s a great book if you’re someone who wants to learn that working smarter means doing less work but achieving better results.
Here’s an example of working smarter:
Instead of spending hours working at a job and getting minimum wage and being stuck on a schedule, you can spend time building a business that allows you to control your schedule and have more time for more fun things like dancing. This is optional but if you’re gonna be a dancer, your schedule might have to be more flexible.
If you’ve saved up enough money to buy a house, instead of living in it, rent it out to people and use that money as passive income. You’d be able to make money while you sleep. You get the idea. Spend less time, make more money. This is similar to the job of choreographer. You choreograph once, teach it, perform it, and it lives on forever in media.
A good ratio for work vs money is about 80/20. 80% of your results should be coming from 20% of the effort. I try to implement this ratio as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be exactly 80/20 but if you want to read more about it, check out the 80/20 Principle.