The other day, I wrote a blogpost about approaching auditions as an opportunity for exploration.
And then yesterday, I read an article about people who have been recognized for having tremendous bursts of creativity in their lives. In that article, the author cited a study that boiled down the origin of these successes to three words.
Explore, then exploit— Dashun Wang, Northwestern University
I get explore, but exploit – and exploitation – has become such a negative word these days. How can it be something that we can use in a positive way?
The definition of exploitation is to use something or someone for profit. But it’s not the primary definition.
As a noun, an exploit is:
Full Definition of exploit (Entry 1 of 2)
: DEED, ACT
especially : a notable, memorable, or heroic actMerriam-Webster
I’m kind of digging the whole heroic part of that definition.
And as a verb, to exploit means:
: to make productive use of : UTILIZEMerriam-Webster
Exploitation occurs when someone else is taken advantage of in order for you to profit. Sweatshop workers, migrant farmers, anyone not being paid what they are worth by people who could afford to do so. (My late mother used to clean and perform what were basically nurse’s aide tasks for a retired judge and his wife for $2.00 hour and was on call day and night in case “Mr. X has to go potty.” Yep, she was exploited.)
Explore the possibilities. Gather all the information you can about what interests you and try different things. Do you want to sing or teach musical theater? Classical? Pop? What can you take from one field of study to apply to another?
The Atlantic article (linked above) cites David Epstein’s book, Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, as coming to point that “people are better off exploring a variety of fields and approaches and braiding their knowledge to produce new solutions.”
I have spent much of the pandemic studying a variety of topics: Alexander Technique, Breaking down the riffs with Natalie Weiss (still in progress), marketing and branding, working on chest mix (still in progress), and a few other things. I like input and ideation – they’re two of my top five Clifton Strengths.
Implementation and execution are not in my top five. Or ten. Or twenty. This is what I need to work on – to exploit those skills at the right time in order to implement and execute the projects I want to put out into the world.
What have you been exploring and how will you exploit the skills you have gained in those explorations? Tell me about it in the comments – I’d love to have a discussion!
Are you looking to explore elements of vocal technique and performance and figure out how best to create your own heroic exploits? Contact Mezzoid Voice Studio to set up a Vocal Discovery Session (maybe I should call that Vocal Explorations instead) and become your own hero (instead of holding out for one).