How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Or, When Do You Call It Quits? Open Thread
Tucker, our one and a half year old Schnoodle, plays the piano and sings along at least 3 or 4 times every day. In spite of all of his practicing, he really isn't getting any better at it.Practice makes perfect, or so they say. But what about when it doesn't? What do you take as the "signs from God" that you're not as well as suited for the life you've chosen as you've always hoped you would be? When do you throw in the towel or keep looking for what it is you're meant to do here?
I mean, there's a buffet of aphorisms to choose from if you're looking for cheap bumper sticker encouragement (...I LOVE the item in that search result with the link "Printable christian aphorisms of encouragement" ...as if to imply there were also some "non-printable Christian aphorisms" ... OK, you've piqued my interest...let me see 'em!).
You know them, the sort of encouragement I mean: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Or my favorite of all time: "Ever tried, Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better." --Samuel Beckett.
However, if we're honest, you and I both know it: some people will never reach the top of their field. No matter how much they try. They don't have the chops. Which is perfectly OK if reaching some level of achievement is not their goal. Who's to stop anyone from carrying on doing what they love?
But I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about those who are not happy doing what they love...I'm talking about those who are miserable because they're not getting the recognition they feel they deserve, while you and I and everyone else involved are pretty damn sure they never will. It's not that they're trying (in the sense of giving it their best shot); but rather that eventually they're trying (in the sense of working your last nerve). You want to tell them "you're just not that good" in response to their bellyaching about how the system is rigged against them or some other self-deluded excuse for the lack of recognition.
Why we don't say that, usually, is out of kindness or understanding that it really doesn't hurt us (that much) if they continue to toil under unrealistic expectations. Or, we don't say it to them because we secretly fear the same is true for ourselves, and if we let that monster out of its cage, it won't rest until it's mauled us all. In the end, it's probably not anyone else's place to say something so harsh to another person anyway...if they never realize it themselves, well, there's always caller ID to protect us from them.
But individually, it does begin to dawn on many of us that we never will make it to Carnegie Hall (without buying a ticket, at least), and we're left with either readjusting our expectations or giving up on that dream. Accepting one's place in the scheme of things can be comforting (or so I'm told). Slowing down long enough to understand how one's contributions are important to the whole can be very rewarding (again, or so I'm told).
Consider this an open thread on reading the writing on the wall and deciding what to do about it.