Itzhak Perlman, a world class violinist, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week recognizing his lifetime achievement in the arts. I listed to an interview he gave to NPR discussing what got him to this point in life. He was asked about his rigorous practice schedule as a young boy and teen and his answer to these questions made me want to find this man and give him a high five (If that’s appropriate for a 70 year old world famous musician.)
Practice Makes Perfect
When speaking of his practice schedule growing up, he joked to the interviewer that he hated it. “Any child that tells you they love practicing is lying to you,” he continued. He explained that even though he hated it, he came from a small town and like all small town aspiring musicians, he knew the way to “make it” was to perform on the international stage, and that’s the type of hard work required to get there.
I love this.
Work is Work
We look at successful people and assume that they somehow enjoy work, like they have some gene in their DNA that makes them enjoy the arduous, difficult, repetitive tasks it takes to perfect an art. That must be what makes them great. It’s refreshing to hear that they are just like the rest of us.
While they may enjoy their craft, or their profession, or the cause they are furthering, all greatness requires hard, difficult, work at its core, and it’s not necessarily “fun.”
Embracing the Negativity
The next time you’re faced with a difficult task you know needs to be done, and you catch yourself thinking, “Ug, I really don’t want to do this.” Answer yourself with, “…and?” You really don’t want to do it. So does that mean it’s not important? Does that mean you’ll feel more like doing it later? Instead of looking for an excuse, think of Mr. Perlman, embrace your disgruntled feelings, and do the task anyway.
So much of success is made up of consistently doing tasks that might scare us or intimidate us because we know they’ll lead to a desired result.
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