I love to tell this story about my dad.
I took piano lessons as a kid. I never got that good at it (despite taking those lessons for at least 6 years or so) because I was never good at practicing. I didn’t like playing a piece until I got good enough to get through it without making mistakes. Once I reached that point, I’d sit down and play it over and over. But when I was picking out notes one at a time and making mistake after mistake? I’d get frustrated and stop practicing. Or never start to begin with.
(There’s some incredibly striking insights into my M.O. in sooo many other parts of my life there, by the way.)
In some rare instances, I’d get so frustrated that instead of getting up and walking away, I’d just start banging keys and wailing “I’ll never get this right! Never, never, never!” or something similarly mature.
One of those times, my dad came in (his ears were probably starting to bleed) and made me leave the piano bench and sit on the couch instead. He picked up a piece of paper and wrote these words on it:
He asked me what I thought they meant. I don’t remember what I said, but he then explained that during hard times, challenges, we can either give in to them, or “get going” through them. “And I know you’re a tough person,” he said. “So what are you going to do?”
I kept referring to that saying as I grew up, thinking my dad was quoting from some wise philosopher or successful, inspiring person I should look up to.
Eight years later, I watched Animal House for the first time and realized my dad’s timeless words of wisdom…were from John Belushi.
Still valid, though.
Now when I’m struggling with something, big or small, I just picture myself yelling “YAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!” and running out of a dingy, beer-stained frat house to build a renegade float for the Founder’s Day parade and generally wreak havoc. And I put my head down and get going.