Have you ever had to step out of the comfort zone of your simple life and had to do different things for a while? I have. I decided a long time ago that it's how you handle learning new things that will ultimately determine if you are successful in life or not.
I look at so many teen celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie my heart truly goes out to them. They have no grasp of reality. One of the very first American reality TV series was a Simple Life starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. The premise was to take two socialites and put them in situations that were foreign to them and let the cameras roll as they tried to learn new things that were outside of their comfort zone.
With so many people losing their jobs it appears that there will be a whole lot of people learning new things they never thought they would need to know. Sadly, some older people who have seen vast retirement funds and fortunes wiped out in a single bad stock market day or by a crooked investment scam have also started to learn things they never thought the would need to know.
Most reality shows are based on the premise of exploiting people outside of their comfort zone and then showing how they react. When I get a chance to watch TV on Sunday nights, one reality series I really like to watch is Undercover Boss on CBS. It is fun to watch the CEO's try to learn new things about their very own company. yah, I sometimes think the show is as real as Pro Wrestling is real (wink, wink) but it still is a touching show watching others outside of their area of expertise struggle to learn new things.
I often wonder if I was ever on one of those reality series how would I stand up to the pressure? Although that hasn't happened, I can say that it's always been amazing to me that when I have ventured out and done something I am not completely comfortable with I actually did better than I thought I would do.
Yes, the Greek girl surprises herself sometimes. It must be the competitive nature in me that rises to the top of my noggin and allows me to be on my "A" game. Lord knows in this business sometimes I may not want to do a certain task, make a phone call or go to a certain place -- but when I do, I always try to do my best. It's just what my parents always taught me to do.
I am in awe of those people who embrace trying new things and actually get a rush from it. My brain was wired differently, or maybe I just have a loose wire somewhere - not sure which is the truth, loose wire or wired differently. But for my entire life I have concentrated on one thing. I have pursued one thing. I dream about one thing. My happiest times are spent doing one thing. And that one thing is my music career.
It's no surprise that American Idol (or as I call it, American Eye Dull) is considering adding a new element to the show. The final 12 contestants will all live together in a house, like Big Brother -- once again exploiting the vulnerability of people in uncomfortable situations.
A career in the arts for anyone is usually a passion, something they must do and not just not a job you can go out and learn. The old joke that the one line of dialogue that every actor knows is, "Do you want fries with that?" goes to show you how many actors, singers, dancers, etc must do many things they don't want to do just to continue to pursue their dream. I say to them, never give up!!
I just wished that every actor and every singer who has a pay-the-bills job like serving the McRib to my manager at the local McDonald's or driving a cab in Manhattan, that they realize this pay-the-bills job is also an opportunity to build their character and become a better person by embracing the uncomfortable present situation they find themselves in. I know first hand how it would be much easier to rebel and walk away from it. I know because I have been in that situation before. Whenever I completed one of those pay-the-bills job I always felt a little prouder about myself for completing it.
Although I am far from the ultimate success I want to have as a recording artist, as the modest success has started coming my way I honestly can say that I am thankful for the many times I have been humbled. It has indeed made me a much better singer, actress and all around better person in the long run. And although maybe I did not know it at the time, perhaps I made a difference in someone else's life and I had no idea I was doing it. That is really the definition of living the dream to me.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Yarish, FOX TV