When we think of traits we find attractive in others, some characteristics spring immediately to mind: kindness, reliability, humor. At first glance, adventurousness might not be an obvious choice.
We tend to think of adventurous as a word to describe mountain climbers, world-travelers, dare-devils. But adventurousness is actually defined as the ability to cope with the new and unknown. In other words, an adventurous person is someone willing to step out and try something new.
Steve Jobs and Willie Nelson?
Steve Jobs changed the face of personal computing (and made a tidy fortune) by walking out to the edge of technology. He decided to build a different computer, in a different way, and became a lone journeyman in a new land. Of course, today, millions of people carry around souvenirs of his adventure in their pockets.
Similarly, in 1960, when Willie Nelson, quite possibly the best-known country songwriter of the last century, arrived in Nashville, he struggled to have his songs recorded. The country music establishment considered his work too off-beat and artsy to be commercially successful. Even Patsy Cline was less than enthusiastic about recording one of Nelson’s songs, Crazy. Of course, that song would go on to become a country standard recorded by dozens of artists, and ironically, held up today as an example of “true country” by people bemoaning the new direction of the genre.
There is NO BOX!
Both Jobs and Nelson pushed the limits of what was considered expected at the time. Some would say they were “thinking outside the box.” That cliché might be the most aggravating and misinformed use of language in popular culture. Why?
Because – to think outside the box assumes the existence of a box, and there is NO BOX.
If there is a box, what is it? Where is it? Who put it there?
Perhaps by box, they simply mean tradition. In other words, the way things have always been done by the people who have always done them. In which case, of course, that “box” is something we should all aim to avoid.
Cultivating a Spirit of Adventure
You aren’t Steve Jobs or Willie Nelson. So how can you, as a performing classical musician, be more adventurous?
Seek opportunities for spontaneity. These can be small – stop at a different grocery store, drive down a strange road just to see where it goes – anything you haven’t planned to do or thought too much about counts. Spontaneity sets you up to recognize possibilities in unlikely places.
Try new things, both in your personal and professional life. Experiment with a new piece of repertoire. Set up a performance room differently, or abandon the stage entirely and walk through the audience (if possible) while playing.
Not everything will be a success. You may try something new only to discover that the traditional way does, in fact, work better. At least now you know. And you’ll find something else surprising: people love to watch others take risks. Humans love to root for the underdog. If you allow yourself to take small risks and be vulnerable, especially if those around you know that you are pushing your limits, you’ll generate all kinds of enthusiasm, compassion and connection.
And when your adventures do lead to success? Well, you’ll be surrounded by an audience who feels genuinely excited to say that they were there at the beginning.
This is part of our series on the characteristics of attractive people. If you would like to hear the live discussion about this characteristic, head on over to ClassicJabber.com now.
If you are ready to learn more about how to build a profitable, fulfilling career as a performing classical musician, check out Concert University, and the free webinar that outlines 5 strategies for success.