WHEN WINSTON CHURCHILL was a young man,
his father concluded that Winston was unfit for a career
in law or politics because he did so badly in school.
Barbra Streisands mother told her
she wasnt pretty enough to be an actress and she could
never become a singer because her voice wasnt good enough.
Conrad Hilton, who created a business empire
with his Hilton Hotels, once overheard his father say to his
mother: Mary, I do not know what will become of
Connie. Im afraid hell never amount to anything.
When Charles Darwin was getting ready to
set sail on his five-year expedition on the Beagle, his
father was extremely disappointed. He thought his son was drifting
into a life of sin and idleness.
George Washingtons mother was a harping,
complaining, self-centered woman by all accounts. She belittled
Washingtons accomplishments and didnt show up at
either of his presidential inaugurations. She was always whining
that her children neglected her, and she was especially enraged
when her son George ran off to command the army for the American
Revolution. She honestly believed it was his duty to stay home
and take care of her.
In his youth, the late Leonard Bernstein,
one of the most talented and successful composers in American
history, was continually pressured by his father to give up his
music and do something worthwhile, like help out in his familys
beauty-supply business. After Leonard became famous, his father
was asked about that, and he answered, Well how was I supposed
to know he was the Leonard Bernstein?!
People may criticize you or make fun of
your ideas or actively try to stop you. Often their efforts are
only attempts to protect you from failure. But failure is only
a possibility if you stop. If you keep going, a failure
is just another learning experience. And besides, giving up on
a heartfelt aspiration is worse than failing. Many people
die, said Oliver Wendell Holmes, with their music
still in them. Thats true tragedy.
So listen politely to the worries and criticisms
of your friends and family, and do your best to put their minds
at ease, but then carry on. Listen last to your own heart. You
know yourself better than anyone on earth. Make sure your song
Listen to your own heart. Dont
let your music die with you.