What did you want to be when you grew up?

How did that turn out?

I have always dreamed of being a performance artist.

X never got that square!

John Lennon observed, “Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.”

That’s pretty close to the mark! Most of us find ourselves in careers we never dreamed of. 

But not everyone!

When Bob Dylan performed in his high school talent show, classmates booed him. Not many people would’ve turned that into a career. In a recently discovered 1957 letter to his high school sweetheart, Dylan wrote of his dream to sell a million records. To date, he’s sold 125 million.

Childhood polio left Joni Mitchel’s left hand too weak to form traditional guitar chords. So, she experimented with alternate guitar tunings that allowed her to make a sound all her own. How many of us would choose a career that involves a musical instrument we are too weak to play? 

Reflecting on these examples, I was thinking about why I didn’t pursue my dream. 

I’ve always told myself it was due to a lack of talent! 

That might be true, but I think the real reason was it was easier to wish I sounded like someone else than muster the courage to be who I am.

An adoring fan once told Itzhak Perlman that he would give his life to play the violin like him. Reportedly, the great maestro replied, “I have.”

Nick Cave, frontman of the band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, writes a blog called “The Red Hand Files.” The posts consist of answers to personal questions posed by fans. 

Here’s a recent one:

“Dear Nick,

I’m 62 years old and decided to learn how to play guitar. Rock guitar. Is such an endeavor a fool’s errand for someone of my age?” – Chris, Aurora, USA

Nick answers:

“Dear Chris,

Yes. It is almost certainly a fool’s errand to learn the guitar at 62. However, personally, I have a lot of time for fool’s errands. Many things of genuine artistic value seem to start as such – needless and profitless ideas that find, in time and to our complete surprise, their value.”

How often do we hold ourselves back out of fear of what people might think or that we aren’t good enough?

Most people reading this have already chosen a career or completed one. But dreams never die. What is the voice in your head saying about your dreams now? 

The world would be smaller if our favorite artists acquiesced to the negative chatter in their heads.

That’s something worth thinking about the next time we choose not to get up and dance!


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6 Replies to “Courage”

  1. nice post. I never learned to swim growing up. always too many things to do as I lived on a farm. Work, work work. This month, at 69, I started swimming lessons. when I checked in at the beautiful pool in Snohomish on Tuesday, the person behind the counter asked why I was checking in. Answering ‘swim lessons’ she couldn’t hide her surprise. ‘You?’ she questioned. ‘Yes, I said’. ‘Never too late’. And I have learned how to front and back float and back stroke in 3 lessons. Am I comfortable in the water? Far more than I once was! And it took courage for me to take this on!


  2. Tim—– your last line says it all—— Get Up And Dance !!!
    How many times have we said to ourselves—maybe next time—-not right now—-perhaps later—don’t think I can—–ETC.
    Now think of the times we have said—- well, why not—OK, I will try— if not now, when—might as well—ETC.

    Now look back on your life and see the things you potentially missed— and then think of the things that happened to you or for you “when you gave it a shot” !!!

    I am so glad I took the latter road so many times—- not every single one of them but for sure most of them—- and taking those chances is what has made me who I am today— good or bad—I feel like I am so better for it and have experienced so many EXTRA and WONDERFUL things in my life…..and feel more fulfilled.

    Thanks as always Tim—– Wren.


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