Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give It Up or Stick It Out?

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. - Josh Billings

Though I still feel pretty young, I'd like to think that I've been around the block a few times and can give good advice.  Sometimes I pretend that I could be an expert at anything.  You know the show that aired in the late 1990's, The Pretender?  At one point I think I even had a crush on the main character Jarod (Michael T. Weiss).  I loved that he had the ability to be anything he wanted to be from a doctor to an airplane pilot. 


In real life, being an expert at everything can have its hardships.  First of all, it's difficult to stick with something long enough to really become an expert.  A true viruoso spends years and years practicing, rehearsing, performing, failing, and starting over again.  Second, there isn't enough time in the day to spend those years and years working at many different things without being spread too thin. 

A friend of mine recently came to me saying she wanted to give up on something - she didn't know if it was worth it to continue since she wasn't at the level of success she desired to be at during this time in her life.  "It's like it's never going to be good enough," she told me.  I thought on what she said for a long time.  I'm not one to give up on something, but at the same time I believe that there comes a point when its okay to let something go. 

For example, I love sports.  I could really play just about any sport and I enjoy it.  During The Pretender era, I participated in volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming, and diving.  I worked hard at all of them.  By the time I reached my senior year of high school, I realized that I was never going to be Varsity material at any of them (unless I liked warming the bench).  I made the decision that I wanted to do something my senior year that I loved and could do successfully.  I ended up not trying out for any teams, but instead participated in a musical.  Was I a quitter?  Some might say so.  Did I care? NO!!  As an adult, I am glad that I stuck with the sports long enoughso  that I can join a pick up game without the fear of being a complete klutz.  And being in that musical confirmed in me a love of music that I have continued to enjoy through the years.

I love the Josh Billings' (a famous writer and speaker in the late 1800's) quote from above: Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.  My expert advice is to stick with something until you get there and stay with it while you love it.  If you dream of being a famous cook, do all the work it takes to get there (practice, schooling, apprenticeship, etc).  If you love it, keep doing it.  Even if you don't open a famous restaurant and earn millions of dollars.  Share your love of food with friends and family.

Of everything, the best advice I have for those Pretenders out there who aren't sure if they should continue or give up is to read this letter by Rainer Maria Rilke .  If you don't want to read it, you can get the condensed version from Sister Act 2:



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