A new friend who is a natural on the piano tells me he likes to play what he doesn’t know. In contrast, he tells me one of his best friends, a multi-instrumentalist, likes playing what he knows, the kind of music he truly enjoys. In all likelihood, probably the kind of music he identifies with.
That’s a lot like most of us, who like to play what we like and what we know.
This muso does the opposite.
In the early days when he was figuring out the complexities of jazz and jazz theory, he very likely had a lot of misses before he hit on the right tone, timbre, formula, harmony, dichotomy and dissonance. Now, I’m pretty sure he gets it right the first time, though he encouraged me to find a way between chord progressions to ‘make it work.’
He likes dabbling in the unknown, figuring out things that are difficult. It’s what challenges him. This means he is not afraid of failure. He loves the thing more than how it might make him feel at that moment. Loving the way he does has made him a master of the thing he loves.
I think anyone who had to work at being good at what they do had to deal with fear at some level before they saw any progress. Maybe they don’t see it as dealing with fear, but in many ways, that’s what it is.
I think my muso friend had to brush away a lot of fears–fear of the unknown, fear of failure–to get to where he is now.
You can read here how fear can be a good thing in leading us to do better; that fear can be your compass and set you on the right path, make you do better.