“There are only three things we do in life: We stand, we sit, we lie horizontal. Once we’ve found success, we’ll still be sitting somewhere, until we stand, and we’ll stand until we lie down or sit again. Success is a concept, an illusion.”
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.
If you’re “climbing a ladder” in your work and you feel tired and discouraged, I recommend giving Seth Godin’s podcast a listen. If you have children who are considering a career in music (as I do), have them listen to it as well (click the link below):
With echoes of James Altucher’s “Choose Yourself,” philosophy, it’s a must hear. Always a little ahead of his time, Godin offers sound advice regarding “going for it” and not working to “pay one’s dues.” Don’t buy into outdated and ineffective advice.
My optometrist told me about his Corvette Stingray. He got it from a couple who purchased a brand new car and needed space in their garage. Everything in the Corvette was shot: the engine, upholstery, paint, some of the body was dented. They had it towed to his house.
Two years later, his Stingray is on the road. He fixed the engine himself. The upholstery still needs to be replaced, but the car has come back from the dead. The doc worked on it every weekend for two years.
Sometimes, our dreams might take years, because we “only have the weekends” to work on them. But with diligence and consistency, they WILL actualize.
Doing deep, meaningful work requires a lot of time in quiet solitude.
I’ve been procrastinating and distracting myself from my deep work (National Board Certification, writing and illustrating Book 2).
So, I shall remove the distractions: posting and reading feeds in social media (FB, Twitter) and checking (and re-checking) the news. Honestly, reading the news and getting upset is not helping anyone. But somehow, I believed that being up to date on current events was being good citizen. As long as my vote is informed, I’m good.
Now, on with the deep work…will you join me? What are your distractions and excuses?