I read recently about Erik Weihenmayer who was the first blind person to climb Mt Everest. The advice given by one of the team leaders was, “Don’t let climbing Mt Everest be the greatest thing you ever do.”
It wasn’t! Beyond Erik’s amazing personal acheivements he went on to found an organisation called ‘No Barriers’, and inspires many to push through difficult handicaps to reach personal goals.
This week two young New Zealanders earned bronze medals they weren’t quite expecting at the Winter Olympics. It has been 26 years since NZ won any medal at the Winter Olmypics. So this is a big deal.
When 16 year old Nico Porteous was was asked how much he practiced, he cited two hours in the gym 4 times a week and every other available moment on the ski field.
His achievement didn’t just happen. Two things had to be in place:
- He loved what he was doing, and
- He put the time in to improve his skills.
To my mind that is success right there! He faithfully stuck at it so that when it really mattered he was ready to pull out his best.
But that’s not all. Any medal seemed like a distant dream but he was focused on simply wanting to improve on his 11th place in the standings by putting down his best possible runs. In some ways the bronze medal was a by product of his work. He got it because he was aiming for more than just a medal. He was aiming to be the best he could be.
Beau-James Wells was another NZer in that competition who was expected to do well. He missed out on the medals and came 4th. No doubt that was disappointing, but to hear him express how pleased he was that he had improved his personal best score showed real character.
What has this got to do with music? Everything!
If anyone loves music and is keen to learn to play well, they need to want it enough to put the time into improving the skills given in their lessons. Some will go on to great things in the eyes of the world out there, but the real heroes to my way of thinking are those who are not limited by just wanting to be better than others. They want to be better than themselves – better than yesterday. These are the ones who can celebrate other peoples’ achievements along with their own. They are taking whatever God given talent they have and are turning into being the very best they can be.
Success is inevitable for those striving for their personal best, whatever that may be.