I Quit Playing Trumpet in the Sixth Grade and It Was Doc Severinsen's Fault!
I quit playing trumpet in the 6th grade. It was Doc Severinsen's fault. He was the band leader and star trumpet player on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and had the nerve to play a concert in Enid, Oklahoma where I had just begun my musical career and was first chair in my elementary school band. My concept of what a good trumpet player should sound like was in the embryo stage of development and was promptly blown to oblivion by what I heard coming out of Doc's trumpet. Some of my young colleagues may have been inspired. I was devastated. After the concert I announced to my parents that I was finished.
Fortunately I slept well that night and had a clearer head the next morning and went back to band. I quit another million times or so over my musical career but never stopped starting again. I'm not up to par with really top notch players but I play well enough to enjoy it and for others to enjoy too, or so they tell me.
Of course, there is a time to quit. Some enterprises are simply not going to pan out and there's no use wasting resources on something that is a nonstarter. But I suspect the danger for most of us isn't that we keep working when there are no prospects for success but that we quit too soon.
So, unless you've sworn off making New Year's resolutions, I have another one for you. Don't stop starting! That's advice I've given myself for many years. It's something I need to hear when I'm frustrated with another failed attempt. I especially need to hear it when I'm tempted to give up after repeated failures. You can probably hear the internal dialogue, "Why bother? I've tried and failed so many times, what's the use of trying again?" I can't answer that question for you. It's yours to answer. If the object of your frustration is something of value, something that will enrich your life and the lives of others, be careful about stopping too soon. Maybe that resolution is just what you need. Don't stop starting.
All the best for a great 2017,