3 Lessons I’ve Learned from Busking That Can Be Applied to Life
For those who don’t know, busking means playing music in the streets for money. Since diving into being a full-time musician I’ve been doing it a lot. I think I did it for the first time about 6 years ago and have gained valuable lessons and skills from it since then that help not just with busking but life in general. Here they are!
It’s one thing to play music on a stage or venue where people are prepared for there to be music, but to just plop down where it’s not expected and play to a mostly unwilling audience is just plain scary! I think it took me awhile to start busking for this reason. But let me tell you, there is nothing like making someone pull out their headphones or stop in their tracks as the walk by you or even run to the other side of the platform really quick just so they can give you some monetary love. The confidence doesn’t just come from acceptance however, sometimes people just sit there and ignore you or clearly walk away because you started playing, but it’s all good. This is such an important skill to have in life. Whether it be asking for a raise at work, asking somebody out or standing up for yourself, the only way you can do these things is by having enough belief and confidence in yourself to not let someone’s reaction affect you. Personally I’ve been pushing myself to leave my comfort zone when it comes to rejection and the more I do it the more silly it seems that I would stop myself from doing something just because someone might not like it, the possible benefits are too great! Confidence is a skill that is worked on by putting yourself in scary situations and I highly recommend it! (as long as your safety isn’t in jeopardy of course)
2. Frustration is a Sign to Try Something New
When I started busking sometimes I would go to a station, barely get any attention or money and then go home bummed. Not anymore! With the aforementioned skill of confidence gained, I squash any who ha in my mind that it’s because I suck (I’ve worked too hard to believe that) and start thinking of other more logical things such as “this isn’t a good location” which is usually the case as I’ll move and start making way more money. This is applicable in life, have you ever seen a small child trying to make a puzzle piece that clearly doesn’t fit smush into the wrong spot? They get more and more frustrated when all they have to do is find the right piece and easily put them together. I know I personally have a problem with doing this in my life and I imagine others do. Yes persistence and sticking with something is good, but there comes a time when you have to realize that something just doesn’t quite fit when the solution we’ve come up with for an issue; whether it be relationships, work or personal growth, isn’t working and to try something different. It’s easy to let frustration be a sign to give up, but often it is a sign to try to solve the problem a different way.
3. I am not psychic.
This is a BIG one that I think all of us humans get in trouble with. Sometimes I’ll see a person with what I think is a grumpy “omg shutup” look on their face then they’ll walk over and give me the biggest compliment and donation ever. Fear is a great story teller and often will convince you that it’s psychic. Even if we don’t consciously realize we’re doing it, it’s so easy to assume “that person doesn’t like me” or “they did this to me because of [insert mean intention that’s all about hurting me]. Our vision of the world is colored by our experiences of love, pain and learned prejudices (we’re surrounded by media that reinforces stereotypes it’s silly to think it doesn’t color our vision). We can be SO certain that this person is thinking this and be SO wrong. Have you ever been in a situation where somebody’s like “You’re clearly angry” when you’re not and they say they don’t believe you when you tell them you’re not, which of course makes you angry? haha! Reminding myself I’m not psychic has been a HUGE help in keeping my sanity and zen in life. Repeat it with me, “I’m not psychic”, one more time “I’m not psychic!”.
So those were three top lessons I’ve learned from busking that can be applied to life. As a musician I find busking to be so valuable, as you’re getting paid to promote yourself basically and the lessons you get from it really are valuable. For people that aren’t musicians this experience can be correlated to any experience of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. So let’s do it!