Richard J. Chandler

Composer for Performing Musicians

Identity’s Benefits and Limits

Take Two+ Tuesday
A Quote, a Thought + an Enriching Link


“You might lose your spontaneity and, instead of composing first-rate Gershwin, end up with second-rate Ravel.”       – Maurice Ravel (Ravel’s response to Gershwin’s request to study music composition with him.)    More Maurice Ravel quotes, along with a one-paragraph bio here on my Leading Musicians website

Thought: Identity’s Benefits and Limits

There are some benefits to embracing identity. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, suggests that identity helps establish good habits, as we tend to do things consistent with our identity. If you have an identity as a healthy person, for example, you are less prone to eat low-nutritional-quality food, despite its immediate appeal. 

There is a real benefit to consistently doing actions that align with your values; when you do, over time, you give evidence to yourself that your identity itself has become congruent with your aspirations. You may no longer consider doing things not aligned with who you have evolved into as a person. 

On the other hand, we can overly define ourselves in ways that limit our explorations of more creative options and ways of being in the world and interacting with others. People oftentimes say these words, “I’m the kind of person who _________________.” This stance can limit our options, and we might think and act based on habitual responses rather than by seeing and engaging the world with fresh eyes and creative actions.

“Whenever I draw a circle [around myself], I immediately want to step out of it.” 

  • R. Buckminister Fuller

Issues of identity, habitual patterns, and communication challenges are acutely evident in romantic partner relationships. From my counseling website, this article explores those themes through couples communication tips.

+ An Artistic Link: 

This 5-minute outstanding arrangement and performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue includes a member of my Leading Musicians Facebook group. (Please let me know if you want to join the 750+ member group to hear interesting music selected for musicians.)