Today I met with an older gentleman (very wealthy) at his home. I was there doing some work for his apartment which is currently under construction. As we were going from room to room I noticed an old beat up violin case sitting in the corner. I asked him if he played and he told me yes but not anymore, that it was a mark of tragedy in his life. He said that he’d studied all of his young life and was able to work with one of the greatest violinists in the world for 2 summers. At the end of the second summer, the instructor told his parents that while he was very good, he would never be “an immortal”, and at best he would be in the 2nd string of an orchestra. When given the news, the gentleman (very young at the time) cried and cried. He was given the option to continue to study the violin at Julliard, or to attend Yale where he’d also been accepted. As the maestro had put it, he could either be a 2nd class violinist, or join the upper levels of society by attending Yale. He chose Yale, and gave up the violin and hasn’t played in years.
Standing there with him amongst all of his fine things, I could see the sense of longing on his face, and shadows of regret for what might have been for him had he chosen the other path. He’s seem to make peace with it, and appeared to be a happy man. I found it heart breaking though that because someone told him he would never be “the best”, that he would quit all together, but I suppose that’s what happens when you choose another road for your life; the new life takes over the old, unintentionally, but it happens.
So this is a message to all those who audition and don’t get the gig, who aspire to be something that brings joy to your life and you get knocked down, keep going. You don’t have to be the best. In fact, forget about being the best. Besides, who’s to say who is the best at something? Just try your best. That’s all you can do. If it gives you joy, then don’t quit. Remember that thing you loved to do when you were young but now don’t have time for? Make some time. I’m speaking to myself just as much as anyone reading. 🙂
Now go make something.