Friday, November 11, 2011

Chart of Virtues and Enjoying Failure

Chart of Virtues and Enjoying Failure
Reading a lovely book by Gretchen Rubin (Collins) called The Happiness Project.  Despite having an outwardly pleasant, picture-perfect existence, she felt life was whooshing by without being sure she was living to the fullest.  She spent a year studying happiness and the result is fascinating.  I don’t agree with all of it yet as I continue to read, I can see that she is not seeking an untroubled life, but rather, a conscious one.
She created a chart of virtues under the premise that doing a small thing every day is better than doing a big thing once in awhile.  She took a long time to define her virtues and then it became a chart that reminded her of these things every day. 
I believe in this too.  As I strive to build a solo career that will both challenge and sustain me, there are sometimes long periods between concerts.  I find this very hard since the real life of the music lies in making it ring out in a room full of people!  This is when I remember that every effort can still be directed towards supporting that reality... 15 minutes spent on a tricky corner of a concerto can be essential preparation for a concert that is happening a year from now...organizing string parts for Vivaldi concerti can save hours of panic when it comes time to present these works in different places... having a suitcase that is in good shape and an up-to-date passport makes it that much easier to get on a plane when the opportunity arises.  And stopping all of these things so that I can get to bed before dawn also supports the goal of being on stage in full strength... this is very hard for me to remember!  
Enjoying failure... now there’s a lovely thought!  Every time we step onto stage or in the public forum in anyway, we run the risk of making mistakes and failing.  It is simply the price of worthwhile life.  Mistakes reveal passion, and as Ms Rubin says, it is part of being creative and ambitious.  The trick is to forgive ourselves and keep trying, never to retreat into silence. 

1 comment:

Susan Morris said...

Good food for thought. I concur, except for putting mistakes and failing together. Mistakes are how we learn and grow; they are part of the human experience. Failure is when we don't learn from our mistakes. Either way, we must celebrate our present achievements while always striving to do better. To quote Stevens Hewitt, "every day you must raise the price of your notes".