Friday, December 26, 2014

Axiom 57: 'No' Doesn't Always Mean 'No'

"A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success." -Elbert Hubbard

"About the only problem with success is that is does not teach you how to deal with failure.
-Tommy Lasorda

I started band when I entered middle school. I hastily picked the french horn as the instrument I chose to learn. As that first year of band progressed my french horn skills did not. I was awful. I still remember playing a rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" that was so wretched that I could see the look of disgust on the band directors face.

As the year came to a close I was miserable playing that instrument. I was considering giving up and quitting band. I just had to get through one last concert with the french horn and then I would be done with band for the year. However, something interesting happened at that concert.

For the first time I noticed the percussion section playing. I was mesmerized as they jammed out a drum solo to the song Wild Thing and from that moment on wanted to play drums in the band. I went to the band director soon after and confessed that I wanted to switch from french horn to drums. His answer was a quick "no".

I couldn't blame him. I was so awful at french horn and if I switch instruments I would be a year behind. I told my parents about wanting to switch and they went with me to talk with the band director again. After a meeting with him the answer was still "no".

I was ready to give up and move on, but the lesson I learned next shaped the tenacity that I have retained to this day. My parents asked me how bad I wanted to play percussion and I convinced them that my interest was genuine. With that they enrolled me in private lessons for the summer.

They called the band director up on the phone. They told him I was taking private lessons to catch up a year. He finally agreed to let me audition at the beginning of the year. If I was good enough I could switch to percussion.

I practiced all summer long. For once I enjoyed playing a musical instrument. My private instructor had me playing high school level sheet music by the end of the summer. Needless to say I came back to school the following year and played percussion. I went on to play the drum set in jazz band and became lead snare drum and drum line leader in high school my sophomore year.

I refused to take no for an answer and because of that I came out a better person.

Let someone else's "no" motivate you to prove them wrong rather than stop you dead in your tracks.