And it’s probably not in the way you think…
So there I was, at a venue I’ve played at numerous times over the last 8 years.
In fact, I was the first musician they ever booked when the first opened up.
I know the owner, as well as many of the employees, pretty well.
(And they still keep having me back!)
Want to hear a $10 word? Heuristic.
It’s a general strategy or approach to solving a problem.
We use heuristics to shortcut familiar processes to keep us from having to make choices about the same things over and over again.
As I mentioned, I’ve played at this venue many, many times.
I know where to park, what to bring, where I am going to set up.
A lot of my routine is on cruise control here because it’s so familiar.
But when I got there most recently, there was a bachelorette party setting up right in front of where I usually play.
One thing you’re likely to learn is that people don’t like to sit directly in front of your P.A. System!
Especially when they plan to spend the afternoon drinking, talking and playing games.
For them, the music is a pleasant background at best.
This really threw me…
Frankly, I’m a little ashamed to admit it.
But this messed with me a little bit!
I started running through solutions to the “problem.”
First, let the manager know about it.
But really, how much sense does it make to relocate paying customers?
Second, wait them out. I’ll just start a little later and play a little longer.
But we could tell they were settling in for a long afternoon (and they did stay for about 2 hours.)
Third, it was suggested to play without amplification.
This wasn’t an option, for reasons I’ll discuss in another post.
So What Was The Answer?
What I did was simple.
But I can’t even take the credit!
My wife suggested it first, even though I initially rejected the idea.
Then my friend that worked there suggested it.
Still a no.
Just being stubborn.
But of course, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.
What did I do?
I set up and played in a different part of the room!
See how simple that was?
The Power of Habit
Looking back, it’s hard to figure why I didn’t do that instantly.
That just goes to show the power of habits, or the huge influence these heuristics have in your life.
Because I had done the same thing over and over again, simple solutions, solutions that were obvious to all outside observers, eluded me.
So while it’s useful (even essential) to have routines and habits, don’t become a victim of them.
Unless you’re a big star (and if you are, shoot me an email I’d love to talk with you!), understand that you need to be flexible.
Most venues probably won’t put your needs above those of the paying customers unless there’s a larger benefit to them.
If you’ve got people you trust around, really listen to their ideas. They’re trying to help you.
Break out of your own head and figure out a way to make it work.
Got any stories like this?
What kind of heuristics do you work with on a regular basis?