The pursuit of excellence

One of the many “old friends I haven’t seen in years but I think I know because I see their Facebook posts all the time” posted this the other day, from a website called Cover Band Central:

to all musicians who are slowly giving up,

don’t.

just because someone is weighing you down, or you think you’re not worthy of playing your instrument, or your self-esteem is dragging you down, do not give up.

do. not. give. up.

it will be hard, and it will take some time, practice, and dedication, but you will be where you want to be.

and it will be worth it.

Good words. Wise words. And applicable to any pursuit of excellence and any chase after a passion.

The audiobook in my commute right now is Born to Run, an autobiography by Bruce Springsteen, and the description of what it took for him to be the best lead guitarist in central New Jersey in the late 1960s sounds daunting. He practiced on his guitar late into the night; he would sit and watch better guitarists during their gigs and then race home and work to duplicate what he had seen them do; and he devoted his time to this craft day after day until he was the best in central New Jersey. Then he visited California and realized there were a lot of folks who were even better, so he rededicated himself to the task.

Now, that’s what it took to become Bruce Springsteen, and if you want to be the next Springsteen, you need to know it’s not going to happen in a few days or weeks or months.

But …

Don’t give up. Don’t listen to the voice that says “Hell, I’m never going to be as big as Springsteen.” That is probably true, but the point is never to be as big as somebody else, or as good as somebody else. 

The point is to become as good as you can. The point is not to give up.

You decided you wanted to pursue this dream. You wanted to master this instrument or build this house or whatever it is you set out to do. You knew it was a big dream when you started. You knew it was going to take some time. You knew it was going to be hard, although maybe not this hard.

One of the best feelings in the world is to stand at the finish line and look back and say, “Son of a gun. I did it.” The only way to have that feeling is to get it done. Yep, there will be times you think you may as well give up, that you’re not worthy, or all of this work and hassle isn’t worth it.

I’m here to tell you, like the person who wrote the meme, that when the demon voice inside you says stuff like that, it’s lying. 

Keep going. 

You are worthy of this. 

And it will be worth it.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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