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Do something crazy
By Douglas E. Welch
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If you are like me, one day can seem much like another. If we allow it, our daily rut can become so deep that we can’t even see a way out. We wander from bed to shower to coffee to work to dinner to home to bed without so much as a single thought that there might be a better, or at least different, way. You don’t have to live in that rut, of course, but if you want to get out, you will have to expend some energy. You will have to look for some new alternatives to the same old, same old. You just might have to do something crazy.
Now, when I say crazy, I don’t necessarily mean anything life threatening. Sure, some of my friends have found excitement in skydiving, white water rafting and jungle treks, but I think there are much simpler ways of putting some energy back into your life. In my case, one walked right into my life. A friend recently called with an interesting request. Over the last several years, he has been producing a horror musical he had adapted from a film. He had put on this show in his down of Bakersfield, California and elsewhere in the state. This time, though, he was bringing it to the big city of LA and was asking me personally to take on a small role.
For those who might not know, my degree is actually in theater and I quite enjoy working there. That said, I don’t find much opportunity here in LA due the professional nature of even the smallest productions. I haven’t acted in nearly 25 years, although I have performed music in public every so often. Still, I had to think long and hard about deciding to accept a role again. It seemed so far outside my normal daily life, but that is exactly what made me decide to do it. I saw this as life offering me an opportunity to get a little crazy, to get out of my rut. I think I would have been a fool to ignore it. It is rare when such opportunities come looking for you.
What has this bit of craziness done for me? First, if has introduced me to a score of young, talented people who have not lost that youthful optimism and energy for life and their work. Life can be tough and we all get beaten down a little over the years, but surrounding yourself with young people can be a great way to break out of your older mindset and perhaps find a new interest to pursue or new energy for your existing career. This is the same reason I recommend that you attend BarCamp events and other un-conferences. You gain the energy of youth and also, in many cases, the young want to know what you have to say. Finding an audience for your knowledge and experience can be one of the most rewarding aspects of these events.
Second, acting is a new challenge that is entirely different than my daily work. Putting myself into a different character and a different mindset is not only fun, but it gives me new insight to my daily work. I often find myself thinking new thoughts, having new ideas, applying theater experiences to my presentations and generally being more aware of what I am doing and how I am doing it. This is the power of rut-busting activities. They break not only the rut of our daily schedule but also the rut of our daily thinking. When you are faced with new opportunities and new activities you can’t help but think new thoughts. You mind has to deal with new inputs and, in many cases, creates new outputs to make use of them.
For your own sake, go out today and do something crazy,. Again, you don’t have to jump out of a plane, but something as simple as visiting a new restaurant or a new part of town, signing up for piano lessons, performing for your child’s school or even being in a play like me can open new doors in your mind, your life and your career.
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I couldn’t agree more! We all need to shake things up a little bit.
It makes the mundane taste sweet again.
Thanks for the post!