Attachment vs Commitment: The Mindset Shift for More Happiness and Less Disappointment

inspiration Apr 09, 2024

Written By: Chelsea & Cynthia

What are your biggest goals in life? Maybe you want to be on Broadway, star in a hit movie, or have your own TV show—those are great goals to have! But there's a secret mindset shift that can be the key to whether those goals leave you feeling fulfilled or like a failure.

The idea is being committed to a way of being, instead of being attached to one outcome.

Attachment means fixating on specific outcomes, such as landing a particular role or achieving a certain level of success. Commitment means embracing a broader way of being and focusing on overarching goals or visions rather than singular outcomes.

When you're committed to your path, you persist regardless of the results or obstacles encountered along the journey. This allows you to continually shape the future you envision, drawing upon the wisdom you’ve gained along the way. In contrast, attachment to a specific outcome can lead to feelings of either success or failure, depending solely on whether or not that outcome is achieved.

Not quite sure how to visualize it? Here's an example:

Think about students auditioning for college programs—sometimes they'll get attached to the idea of a specific program at a specific school. They're attached to the idea of going to a Top 10 school with a stellar BFA program and, as a result, will feel like a failure if they don’t get in.

Versus, being committed to a creative life in musical theater. With this goal, there are countless paths available for them to achieve it. They can choose the training program that’s right for them—a BA, BM, BFA, or otherwise—without the pressure of attachment to a specific degree. Maybe they even major in something completely different and take dance lessons and voice lessons on the side! Regardless, they're in pursuit of the creative life they desire—they're just not overly concerned about how they get there.

The commitment mindset opens up a feeling of freedom for performing artists, because attachment leads to disappointment.

We believe that disappointment is rooted in being attached to a specific path or a specific outcome.

When you commit to a long-term goal or a big umbrella feeling, you're able to realize that not booking that one job or not getting into a certain school doesn’t define you as a performer—it’s all just a part of your larger journey. Rejection may still sting, but this mindset shift allows you to see those bumps in the road as just a natural part of the road, instead of a stopping point or the end of the journey. After all, if we stopped every time there was a bump in the road, we'd be stuck a hundred miles ago!

What does it look like for a performing artist to implement this mindset shift into their daily life?

When it comes to auditions: If you're attached to the outcome of your audition, you’re going to feel like a failure every time you don’t book the job. But if your commitment is that you are going to give 100% every time you have an opportunity to perform, whether it's in an audition room, a concert, or a show, then those opportunities become creative outlets to share and celebrate your artistry.

When it comes to being a working musician: If your goal is to be a performer, there are countless paths to achieve that. It doesn't have to be limited to performing on a Broadway stage in New York City—that specific outcome becomes an attachment. If you're willing to explore opportunities such as singing at your church, participating in benefit concerts at local nursing homes or schools, or even teaching music at your child's preschool, you’ll broaden your possibilities for finding fulfillment along your journey.

When it comes to just wanting to live a creative life: We often cut ourselves off from the joy of what we love to do if we don’t have a specific reason to do it. If you don’t have any auditions coming up, why bother singing today? Well, a performer is someone who performs, a singer is someone who sings—it doesn't matter where or why. Sing in your room, learn a new song just to flex those muscles, or do a character analysis on a new piece. If it brings you joy, it’s helping fulfill your commitment to live a creative life, no matter what that looks like.

How to begin embracing this new mindset

Start by writing down your commitments and exploring the paths available to you. Whether you’re committed to a career in musical theater, the desire to live a creative life, or even wishing for a fulfilling relationship, allow yourself to envision the unlimited ways in which these commitments can manifest in your life.

Ultimately, this approach offers a refreshing perspective on goal setting and fulfillment. Rather than fixating on specific outcomes, focus on your broader commitments and the journey toward realizing them. As this quote perfectly illustrates, "The world does not always show up with the results we might want. And if you are attached to the outcome, you might see in your effort a failure, when, in fact, it contains the seeds of success." - Unknown

If you're interested in diving deeper into this mindset or exploring other interesting musical theatre conversations, check out the Broadway Vocal Coach podcast! Or check us out on Instagram, and get involved in the conversation! 

Are you a musical theatre performer and wondering what your next step should be? Take our Quiz—we can’t wait to hear your story and help you take the next step in your career.


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