Just Roll With It, Man!

The band I'm in made a pretty big mistake last weekend at one of our shows. We had recently upgraded some of our PA equipment and were all excited to get it hooked up and try it out. We were so focused on the new equipment and how we were going to integrate it into our setup that about 45 minutes before we were supposed to begin our set, we suddenly realized that we had left a whole pile of our speaker cabling back at home and it would take us at least 1 ½ hours to go retrieve it. Because it was a paid gig, we were all sweating it pretty bad.

But then our drummer spoke up and brought us back down off the edge. He reminded us that these kinds of things happen all of the time and that we just needed to improvise and roll with it. So that's what we did. We sent our keyboardist out to solo some nice jazz numbers to buy us some time while one of our bandmate's daughters raced the equipment up to our gig.

Within about 50 minutes, the whole band was hooked up and we were able to play a slightly condensed version of our setlist. The crowd had a blast and afterwards we received at least three additional invitations to play at other events. During a break between songs, one of our vocalists admitted to the crowd that we had forgotten some equipment and that was why we hadn't started playing earlier. The crowd laughed and shrugged it off without a second thought. The fact is, they were entertained and got what they paid for even if it was slightly different than what we had expected to deliver.

I've thought about this over the weekend and realized that improvisation is an important skill in any area of life. The fact is, things rarely, if ever, go exactly as planned. Unless you learn to roll with it and make adjustments on the fly, you're going to be a very high-strung and angry indivdual. That's a hard concept for me as an estate planning attorney to accept. I like to plan and anticipate every possible contingency that I can imagine. However, things always seem to unfold slightly differently than anyone imagined they would. That's when it's important to be flexible and learn to compromise.

As Father's Day approaches this weekend, might I suggest that all of us, especially those of us who may be a little more high strung than others, remember this principle when dealing with our children or grandchildren. Children are one of the most unpredictable forces in nature. Just last Saturday, while I was away at my band's gig, I came home to a four-year-old girl who had just given herself a haircut. It didn't turn out so well. But thanks to the reminder from our drummer, we were were able to laugh it off and remember that life happens despite our best efforts. And in the end, all you can do is control how you react to it.

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