[From Music Practice Decoded, Part 4: The way one thinks and its influence on practice]
How one 'sees' oneself, what one believes about oneself, appears to affect one's achievements to a great extent. It seems that self-image, self-belief and self-esteem – all based on how a person perceives him- or herself, not on objective facts – are strongly connected with each other and influence one's life, and accordingly one's musical life and practice, at many levels.
Self-image is how in general a person sees him- or herself. It has nothing to do with reality – one might perceive oneself as talented and capable of great achievements in one area, while having a low self-image in another, without any rational basis for any of such beliefs. A strong and positive self-image in a specific area appears to lead to better results of further training. It also plays a crucial role in motivation and is the first step to a strong self-belief.
One's own belief in oneself and one's willingness to follow one's own highest aspirations are what determines one's success and failure. Every person has a range of various self-beliefs referring to his or her education, work, social and domestic life. Some of them are likely to affect negatively what one achieves, whereas others empower the individual, giving him or her the confidence he or she needs. “Self-belief is what gets everything going,” (1) argues Gonzalez.
(1) Gonzalez, D. C., with McVeigh, A., The art of mental training. A guide to performance excellence, GonzoLane Media, 2013, 135
More on the science of self-perception and how understanding it can help you to become a better and happier musician in my new e-book Music Practice Decoded. The Psychology of Getting Brilliant in Music. To get a free sample of my e-book, click the following link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/705548
And if you'd like to learn more on self-belief in particular, dive into Gonzalez's The Art of Mental Training.