As I pursue the National Board Certification for Teaching, I’m losing steam at the end. It’s feeling like maybe I’m not going to finish. A sprinkle of overwhelm and the bland mushiness of despair have rendered a toxic “Blah Stew.”
So I typed “quotes on finishing strong” to motivate me. The one above is pretty good. But then I found this one:
I’m going to continue on: I will complete the work. At the same time, I surrender to whatever happens.
We attended our daughter’s concert tonight. She’s a member of the Youth Symphony of the Southwest (members are aged 15-20). They played Brahms:Symphony No. 1 in C minor and it was 45 minutes of absolute bliss.
I learned something new: Brahms so admired Beethoven and wanted so badly to create something in the same caliber that it took him fourteen years to complete this concerto. Fourteen years.
He toiled and created on one project for fourteen years. That’s some serious perseverance.
So if you’re working on a masterpiece of any kind and you’re stressed about how long it’s taking you to create it, don’t sweat it. Just keep at it and pay no mind to time.
“I am sitting at the open window (at four a.m.) and breathing the lovely air of a spring morning… Life is still good, [and] it is worth living on a May morning… I assert that life is beautiful in spite of everything! This “everything” includes the following items: 1. Illness; I am getting much too stout, and my nerves are all to pieces. 2. The Conservatoire oppresses me to extinction; I am more and more convinced that I am absolutely unfitted to teach the theory of music. 3. My pecuniary situation is very bad. 4. I am very doubtful if Undine will be performed. I have heard that they are likely to throw me over.”
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
“You absolutely have to believe in yourself. Man, you’ll get rejected hundreds of times. You have to believe in yourself if you’re going to succeed.”
Jon Bon Jovi
Confidence – noun, a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
Tchaikovsky was plagued by depression and also a hypochondriac. Somehow, he persevered and produced prolifically. Bon Jovi and Tchaikovsky both possessed the drive to create music. This high level of motivation enabled them to overcome obstacles such as rejection and mental illness.
This painting is highly imperfect. The face seems to be floating around, detached. The fur is stiff and square. Painting it was not as fun as painting the hedgehog and it shows. The process reminded me of this quote:
Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.
Mary Tyler Moore
Some pieces will be better than others. I love watching August Wren (Creativebug.com) paint because she talks out loud and often laughs at her mistakes.
Listening to Oprah’s podcast with will.i.am, I was profoundly impressed with him not only as a musician, but as an education proponent. His i.am.angel foundation brings STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs to under-served communities. This foundation has also awarded over $800k in scholarships and 97% of these students are the first in their families to go to college.
Will echoes Milton Berle’s sage advice:
If a door closes, build a new door.
This reminds me of something that happened a few weeks ago, when I was reading the Red4Ed message board. A school bus driver wrote: “Are you guys (teachers) demanding a raise and better benefits for us classified staff?”
I see way too much self-medicating and not enough self-advocating these days. Don’t ever assume someone is looking out for you. You’ve got to do the heavy lifting yourself. Exercise your rights. Vote. Do something with what you have.
If you go by the usual quote, “When one door closes, another opens,” it assumes you will just wait for another one to open. When you build your own, it won’t ever close.
In any case, we’ve estimated that with regular practice, rehearsals, competitions and school orchestra, the girls have at least 5,000 of deliberate practice under their belt.
In nearly nine years of playing, the girls have not once said they want to quit. I attribute that to the fact that they only play violin – they do not do any other extracurriculars. The upsides of “being good” at something are: self-confidence, self-discipline and optimism!