To maximise your potential in music and in life, it’s crucial to deal with cognitive dissonance before it becomes a major problem. Most people like to believe that their self-perception is reality and that their varying beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours are always in alignment with one another.

The fact is that almost everyone experiences some level of disconnect in their thoughts at different points in their lives. When that happens, cognitive dissonance can result, causing feelings of discomfort and confusion that can have a variety of negative effects on the person experiencing it.

Q. What is cognitive dissonance theory?

Cognitive dissonance refers to the discomfort or tension that arises when a person holds conflicting beliefs, attitudes, or values, or when their actions are inconsistent with their beliefs or attitudes. If what we know conflicts with with what we do , then cognitive dissonance kicks in. We all have a tendency to believe the world is as we see it and our view is correct. When confronted with evidence to the contrary , we seek to reduce dissonance by justifying, blaming , or denying among other things.

Q. How do you know if you suffer from cognitive dissonance?


Before you can properly address cognitive dissonance, you need to be able to recognise it when it begins to take root. To do that, you need to understand the various signs that could indicate that you’re suffering from this phenomenon. Some of the more common signs of cognitive dissonance include:

●  A constant need to convince others that your opinion or belief is the only valid way of thinking about an issue

●  A reflexive defensiveness about your decisions and life choices

●  An unwillingness to engage with different ideas and opinions

●  An inability to receive any criticism of your way of thinking or behavior

●  Finding yourself attempting to justify your actions or opinions, even when no one is questioning them

●  Other people tell you that your actions or statements seem inconsistent with your character

●  You find yourself feeling uncomfortable in situations where you’re expected to talk about yourself

Q. How does this impact music creators?

Music artists often have to balance their personal beliefs and values with the

demands of the music industry. If they find themselves promoting messages or behaviours that contradict their own values.

Artists may feel pressure to conform to audience expectations or industry norms, even if it goes against their artistic vision.

As artists evolve and experiment with their music, they may face criticism or backlash from fans who prefer their older work. Balancing the desire for artistic growth with the desire to please their existing fan base can create cognitive dissonance.

There’s often a tension between commercial success and artistic integrity. If an artist compromises their artistic vision for commercial gain, they may experience cognitive dissonance if they value both aspects.

Artists who use their platform to address social or political issues may face criticism or backlash. If they believe strongly in their message but receive negative feedback.

Ultimately, how cognitive dissonance impacts a music artist depends on their individual circumstances, values, and the choices they make in their career. It can serve as a source of internal tension that influences their decisions and creative expression.

Basil Reynolds

Coaching Consultant

Finding the Music Inside