Monday, June 21, 2010

Comfort Zones

I played guitar in front of people during shows this weekend. Myself and Rook formed the band "The Saltwater Moonshine Boys" with about three days notice this past week and had shows at the Colorado Renaissance Festival this weekend. We also had to audition for the faire owner and the entertainment director. It all worked out but it was definitely outside my comfort zone. Usually i have a Dreagn with me when i am performing music and he handles the guitar. It all went well and i only screwed up a couple times so it felt pretty good.

I was talking to Cameron of Barely Balanced after we got the gig and he said he tries to do something outside his comfort zone 3-4 times a week. I always have admired that about him. You can always find him working on new skills and practicing hand stands outside his trailer to better himself and his talent. It is easy to slip into complacency when you are working on something or get to a certain comfortable level. That is something i always liked about working with Dreagn as well. He was always trying to perfect the show. It made us a lot better. Little things that a lot of performers do not pay attention to, he would think about and work on. It bothered him when we were not at a level that we both knew we could be at. Working with Dreagn has made me a much better performer.

It felt good to do that this weekend. Since working at various Ren Faires for the past 13 years, it is hard for me to find something that makes me nervous. I do not find that same sense of nerves and tension in my stomach i used to get back when i was teaching and had to talk in front of people back when i started in 1992. This weekend did that. I feel 10x better as a guitarist just after this one week of work and am thankful i get this whole run to continue to improve. Another side effect is that i feel it has also raised the level of my singing.

When we train in martial arts, i tell my students, as i learned from my teacher Craig Stanton, that most fights are at intensity level 3-5 and that we should train for intensity level 10. That makes the real fight you get into anti-climactic. Train to fight multiple people and weapons and intense crazy situations and the most common real situations will be easy. It is like driving down the turnpike at 65 MPH and then getting off into the residential neighborhood and having to go 25. Everything feels like it is moving in slow motion. That is how you want a fight to be. Another analogy is playing your favorite video game up to level 47, and then going back and playing level 1 all over again. Super easy right? I think that after singing and playing guitar, going back to doing the Dandy Pirates with Dreagn will be like that as well. It will up our game.

Do things outside your comfort zone. That is really how we improve in whatever thing it is we are doing.


  1. I have no retort. I concur that people should exercise to do something that pushes them outside their normal tolerances. Albeit physical or mental, staying in you comfort zone forces stagnation in yourself and life. Well saidTJ.

  2. So true, you are deep my friend. And if there is one thing I have learned about you, it's that you can do whatever you set your mind to.....well except menstruate....