Featured in Songtown USA's Citizen Post.
I have a bachelor’s degree in music. It didn’t come easily. I had no formal training, and about the same amount of talent. What I did have were a dream, a plan, and work ethic. So I auditioned for music school. I was told I didn’t really deserve to be there, but (probably because my voice teacher was friends with one of the adjudicators) they would let me in anyway. They stressed that I was not really good enough for the program, let alone scholarship, and that I would have to work harder than anyone else to earn my place. Without a scholarship, though, I couldn’t attend. So I withdrew.
I took more lessons, taught myself theory, and auditioned again a year later. I was accepted into a school I had put on my list as a safety. They gave me the max scholarship. Did I deserve it? Probably not, but that prompted me to work for it. When I worked hard; I got better. The other students were 95% more talented, but that just meant I had to put in 95% more effort.
Many times, though, I didn’t even try certain things because I had made a mantra of negative words. “You aren’t good enough,” “You don’t know enough theory for that,” “You don’t deserve to be here,” and on and on. Because I never tried new things, it took a long time to realize what I could do. It wasn’t until midway through my junior year that I realized I could compose, or participate in instrumental ensembles, or do well at research presentations. I hadn’t tried those things at all because I had convinced myself I would fail.
Fear of failure or feelings of inadequacy can stop us from doing anything. But what if that inadequacy could propel us into becoming good enough, and then to becoming great? We’re assured mistakes and failure when we try, but we’re assured worse than failure if we don’t: mediocrity.
So take a chance.
Walk. Fall. Stand. Repeat. You’ll be amazed where you wind up.