Some kids have parents that force them to practice—to study, to do their homework, to practice an instrument or a sport. For better or for worse, I didn’t have that.
I used to flit from one activity to another like a squirrel in a nut factory. Although it allowed me to try out a number of different things along the way, I never committed enough time to something to become truly good at it. I developed a habit of quitting when things got hard.
When I got to college, the pattern kept up, and I had attended four different schools and had four different majors by the time I came out with a Bachelor’s degree. A year before I finished my music degree, I nearly quit. Wait, no, I did quit. I withdrew from my college, and began making plans to move to another state.
Luckily, my violin teacher slapped me in the face with the hard truth that no one else was willing to call out:
I was a quitter.
My decision to leave my current school, although I had some legitimate reasons for wanting to, was ultimately going to hurt me because it was going to perpetuate my quitting habit. If I did not learn how to follow through with something, I was never going to accomplish anything.
The truth hurt. I had some good cry seshes that summer, and I felt cracked open for a time before I picked myself back up. But I listened. I went back to school with my tail between my legs to re-enroll for the following semester, and I finished.
Going back was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. That year also ended up being the most difficult academically and the most challenging of my violin performance career to date.
But I’m proud that I finished, and for all the ways that I grew by doing it.
I attribute ALL of my current success to that singular lesson.
You’re not always going to want to. You’re going to want to quit. You might even have some good reasons to. There will be tears. And following through will be worth it.