An Exercise in Humility

The expenses of going on tour can be high, so I'm staying with friends and relatives when I can. It's been a long time since I've stayed in someone else's home. The experiences is fostering humility, since I'm an outsider. No matter how gracious my hosts are, the change of setting and ownership creates vulnerability on my part.

Often, you're more flexible when you're younger. There's even the saying about being “set in your ways” as you age. You stop putting outself in circumstances that are uncomfortable. You stop seeing different ways things can be done. (My sister has a soap dispenser that's part of her kitchen sink. I didn't know that was a thing!) When you step outside of our comfort zone, you have the opportunity to gain a different perspective, vulnerability, and humility.

You can lose the ability to see things clearly if you're not interacting with others. This happened a lot during the pandemic in particular. Humans are social creatures and social learning influences our behaviors and mindset. Social learning is powerful. You may know a lot, but you'll never realize how much you don't know until you have conversations. 

Placing myself at the mercy of the generosity of others during this tour has been a good reminder that we need each other, and that's a pretty humbling construct if you pride yourself on your independence. The pandemic was divisive in many ways, but mostly it divided us physically from each other and the immense benefits that gives us emotionally, socially, and mentally. Asking to stay in someone's home is an exercise in humility particularly when you haven't seen these people in years. This post-pandemic experience is universal, I expect, as we remember how to connect and embrace each other's differences.

Dr. Nancy Williams is a musician, educator, and coach who specializes in helping musicians create cultures of joy and empowerment so that they can lead their careers and lives with more confidence and less stress.

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