Featured in this week’s “Video Find of the Week,” Lindsey Stirling’s newly released music video, “The Arena,” displays how to combat criticism, especially our own.
In a Mad-Max themed video, YouTube violin star Lindsey Stirling and Derek Hough dance in an arena, surrounded by a crowd of critics. Lindsey proves her dancing skills by kicking up the dust with professional dancer Derek Hough, who is best known for winning six seasons of Dancing with the Stars.
The video begins with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, which inspired the video in the first place: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
Lindsey explained the meaning of her music video, discussing the criticism and judgment we all face. “I wanted to create a video that shows people being in their arena. Whatever they’re doing. Me and Derek Huff were supposed to dance in representing relationships and feeling judged in relationships. There were the fighters representing masculinity, and then there was the mother and daughter—they were representing that relationship between mother and daughter. They’re all different scenarios, but they’re all in the arena, and they’re all feeling judged by the people that are watching.”
However, she also explains how judgment comes from within. “[Suddenly] the audience is empty except for themselves, they are the ones watching, and they’re judging themselves so that is supposed to represent self-judgment and how we’re our own worst critic.”
In the end, the characters in the arena reach a resolution. “[They] all rise to the occasion and they finish their routines . . . and they’re all alone in the arena now, and that’s where we all hope to get. We hope to get to a space where we don’t care what others think, and we don’t judge ourselves.”
Lindsey Stirling, who struggled with an eating disorder through her early adulthood, knows the pressure of both external and internal criticism. She received grave criticism from America’s Got Talent judges in 2010. Piers Morgan told her that the world had no room for a dancing dubstep violinist, and Sharon Osborne doubted her ability to fill a Vegas theater. Nevertheless, Lindsey overcame her self-doubt and the judges’ doubts to become one of the most famous violin performers in the world. Even though she still faces criticism, Lindsey proves how believing in yourself and your talents makes all the difference.
“I want [my music] to mean something,” Lindsey said. “I hope people will walk away not only being highly entertained, but I hope that they’ll be energized to go out and do the things that they want to do.”
Although her music video includes no vocals, her music speaks for itself. Energetic and entertaining, Lindsey shares her enthusiasm and positivity with the world. Lindsey motivates and inspires others to follow their passions and dreams, whether that includes playing the violin, dancing, or some other hobby. Since we each face criticism and judgment from others and especially ourselves, she encourages each of us to silence the inner critic and not dwell on the opinions of others. By eliminating self-doubt and ignoring criticism, we enter our arena with confidence, self-worth, and the ability to be happy.
Lindsey Stirling’s new music video precedes the release of her third album, Brave Enough, on August 19.