Playing Second Fiddle is all about accepting our lack of perfection. When I started to learn violin, my aim wasn’t to play in the symphony. Actually I tried out for the Junior Philharmonic—and I got a lot of laughs… But really, all I wanted to do was to see what kinds of sounds I could make. And believe me I can make a lot of sounds. Before I could learn, though, I had to conquer one big obstacle: Perfectionism. It took the more specific form of fear.
Fear of not playing perfectly. Fear of having to start from zero. Fear of other’s reactions to my new pastime. I had to conquer the tendency we all have, of wanting things to be perfect before we make one step forward. We say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Or, “I’ll find a teacher after I’ve paid my taxes.” And, “I’ll practice more after I do the dishes.” I had to push aside the idea that I should sound and be a certain way, in this new role. I had to let go of the perfect image of my music sounding flawless, the sounds I make amazing.
Humor helped me to eradicate this particular aspect of perfectionism. I had to tell myself to, “Just Begin.” Take that first step toward your goal and believe that the universe will bring you the things, people, and knowledge you need. And so I just started. I didn’t wait until I had a good violin, a proper neck rest, or even talent.
Humor reminded me to accept my abilities. I did what my violin teacher told me, “Do it wrong, do it strong.” There was a study at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania about musicians learning new music. When they played timidly and softly—not wanting others to hear their mistakes—it took their brains much longer to learn the music. But when they played strongly, their brains processed the new knowledge much more quickly. When we aren’t afraid of our imperfection we are free to embrace and utilize the skills and talent we do have.
Humor allowed me to be a true beginner. I wasn’t afraid to be a total novice. Think of a kindergartner: no one expects anything from them. So, realistically, they can get away with anything. We have to be willing to start from scratch and learn as we go. No one can know everything about everything. After my first violin lesson, I was so proud of myself. Not only did I learn how to take the violin out of the case. But—I learned how to hold it! I thought I was the most brilliant person in the room.
What’s your ‘violin’? Maybe it’s going back to school for that degree. Maybe it’s moving to a new area or state. Or it could be starting—or ending—a relationship. Maybe it’s painting your house blue. Whatever it is, take the focus off of perfectionism. Today, just take a step forward. Even if you do it wrong, do it strong. Let yourself be a total beginner. And then take your rightful place in the orchestra!
The movie Avatar was an exhausting, exhilirating foray into the world of the unknown. Bizarre creatures and hopeful features. The Avatar represented the best of what we could be. And so does humor.
Adding humor sometimes seems as risky as entering a parallel universe. It can be uncomfortable. Unthinkable. Threatening. The Avatar Sully didn’t have “a full cup.” So, he was eager to learn the ropes, literally. In a world of floating mountains and ethereal spirits, he tried, failed, and learned new skills. He was told to, “trust your body to know what to do.” Whether navigating a futuristic jungle or predicting the outcome of your attempts at humor.
Just like the giant trees, humor operates as a network of energy that flows through all things. When we enter that other realm, we create an avatar of ourselves. One that is lighter, more interesting, fearless. And sometimes even funny.
Here are some events you might be interested in.
Know a kid who’d like to be a WTAE weather kid? From the PittsburghChannel site:
“Visit any Kings Restaurant to pick up your entry form for a chance to audition to be a WTAE “Weather Kid!” Selected kids, ages seven to twelve, will audition by delivering a “Weather Fun Fact” which will air on WTAE Channel 4. This winner will be named the WTAE Weather Kid and will be part of a future live weather broadcast.
MORE DETAILS: ”
And, if you’re looking for some great jazz entertainment tonight in the Pittsburgh area:
“Donna with the Fabulous Don Aliquo Quintet — Don Aliquo, Sr. & Don Aliquo, Jr. – Saxes, Vince Garzotta – Keys, Mark Perna – Bass, John Schmidt -Drums, Donna Bailey - Vocals
Natili’s Restaurant - Corner of Wayne & S. Main Streets, Butler
Monday, December 28th
7:00 PM -10:00 PM
DBS Jazz Productions
For booking info call: 724-469-1246″
One of the main tips I tell people about humor is this: it’s NOT about getting laughs. Laughs are a bonus. What IS important is creating that environment where humor can thrive and multiply.
This week’s Comedy Around the World goes to Toronto, Ontario Canada. To see Bruce Springsteen during the Tunnel of Love Tour.
I chose Bruce as an example of creating this humorous environment. Nothing Bruce says is particularly or hilariously funny. He doesn’t do pratfalls. He doesn’t make funny faces.
But what he does do, and what he is expert at, is creating an environment.
He is the champion at creating an aura. A milieu that makes me and a friend want to take a bus numberless hours across the border. To stand among strangers who also know all the words to all Bruce’s songs. Makes us enthusiastic about seeing the next concert with Bruce–even though he’ll sing the very same songs with the very same band.
Creating this humorous environment is not an effortless task. But it makes others feel, work, relate, and interact effortlessly.
Want to see how Bruce does it? Just click here to watch Bruce in action!
It’s not just a song by Elvis. It’s a phenomenon that various churches and support groups recognize is typical. Not everyone is ecstatic during the holidays. We know we’re supposed to be. But sometimes we don’t or can’t live up to what’s expected of us during this season.
Keeping a humorous outlook may seem impossible. But it’s the thing that will help us the most.
Humor relies on the truth. Forcing ourselves to keep our usual traditions may backfire. Pretending we’re happy doesn’t work. We need to acknowledge that we’re not in a celebratory mood.
Humor leads us through all our emotions, not just the pleasant ones. Lots of humor is based on pain. We need to remember that we have a gamut of emotions–even during a happy holiday season.
Humor draws out our positive energy, eventually. Research shows that merely anticipating a happy or funny event gives us the benefits of humor. Physical benefits like feel-good hormones, lowered blood pressure, and lower resting heart rate.
We can’t always be in control of what happens to us. But we can keep our HumoRadar alert and ready to note the humor that will–I promise–come back into our paths.
Copy and paste this link if you’d like to read more about Blue Christmas: http://onlineathens.com/stories/121809/liv_536762040.shtml
Remember that song from one of those Christmas cartoons? When I hear the song now, I laugh.
But when I first saw those Christmas cartoons, I was terrified. That battle between the green and white Christmas mascots was unsettling. And when Frosty the Snowman melted–I was devastated. Same when Rudolph’s enemies tried to destroy him.
Listening to those songs now, though, I laugh. How could I be so scared of a cartoon character? A song? A made-up story?
Because I didn’t have all the information.
My perception was only what was on the screen at the time. I didn’t know Rudolph wasn’t real. Didn’t have a clue about warm weather naturally melting snow.
Yes I was that gullible as a child.
But looking back with laughter helps to heal us. Given enough time, our perspective widens. Our information grows. And we multiply our repertoire of choices.
Humor heals our flawed perceptions.
Humor helps us overcome our limited thinking.
Humor clarifies the bigger picture.
It took many years to see that Mr. Green Christmas was only teaching children about different Christmas experiences. How much grief would I have saved myself if I could have known all the facts? If I could have instantly realized the cartoons were only for fun. What if I’d had all the information before I reacted?
It’s not always possible to see clearly the entire spectrum of info. But when we decide to look with a humorous perspective, we save ourselves worry, fear, wrong choices, and pain.
What will you look at differently, when you Life Life–Lite!
This week I opened one of the Christmas cards I got in the mail. A little note fell out. It read:
“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.”
It was funny–literally. That message was exactly what I needed to read that particular day.
Author SQuire Rushnell talks about these coincidences–what he calls “God Winks.” They are a lot like humor:
They are all about timing.
They remind us that we are exactly on the path we should be.
They tell us that we are in a “flow” state.
They don’t give direction. They simply remind us that we are doing O.K. as is.
Humor operates like God Winks do.
By making our path straighter.
Easier to navigate.
And, of course–more fun!
What gifts will you give this year?
Happy Humor Holidays from Trina!!
Create your own card at animoto.com
Just read an article from Scott the Nametag Guy, about interviewing skills. Scott says it’s important to, “be funny early. Humor is the ONLY universal language. And people want to spend their workdays with people who make them smile.”
“* You diffuse defensiveness
* You relax the situation
* You break down barriers
* You soften the ground and you stimulate memory.”
What does being funny mean?
“* Funny means listening.
* Funny means approval.
* Funny means trust.
* Funny means attention.
* Funny means engagement.”
You don’t have to get laughs. The important thing is to create that environment where humor can dwell. Scott adds, “Don’t make jokes – be funny. Huge difference. One is contrived; the other comes from your core. Pinpoint your natural funniness and share it early. How funny do people perceive you as being?” Read more of Scott’s articles at www.hellomynameisscott.com
This month I’ve done two very scary things. Completely out of my comfrot zone. Things I’d avoided for a long time. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pleasant.
But once the effort was made, there was a release, an outflow of new, pure energy.
Using our sense of humor requires that we be uncomfortable. At least for a little while. But it is within this discomfort that we become at peace. Ironically enough.
I read an interview of actress Helen Hunt. She said she has made a career out of going toward what scared her. Going out of her comfort zone brought her huge rewards.
It didn’t feel great at the time. Just like trying out your sense of humor in a new situation. But the rewards are more than worth the try.
Scott the Nametag Guy wrote in his blog entry, “Do You Embody These 12 Attributes of Utterly Unequalable People?” that even if hurtle ourselves at our fears, and fail, it’s still O.K.:
“Use every challenge as a growth spurt. As long as you ask yourself questions like: ‘What am I supposed to be learning from this?’ ‘What is the opportunity for growth in this loss?’ and ‘What universal principles of growth or change can you distill from this experience that can be passed on to others?’…Now that you’ve experienced this challenge, what else does this make possible?”
Comedy is never comfortable because it’s all about change. Changing our perspective. Changing our response. Changing our minds, our behavior, and our environments.
What fear will YOU throw yourself at today? And how funny is that?
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