My friend sent me an inspirational video of Alan Thrall today and that hit me as intensely as it did 6 years ago while reading about Elmore music. This is an article I compiled for the college magazine Avipsa 6 years ago arranging & gluing stories straight from 2 news letters received from elmore-music. Here it is.
When I started compiling this article, I too became hesitant. But, the title itself is so enchanting that it urged me write more & more. I tried to yolk together fragrances & flavors of several beautiful stories that epitomize this inherent godly message of keeping pace even among hurdles.
When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. At that moment, the great piano master, Paderewski made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit”. “Keep playing”. Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn’t recall what else the great master played. Only the classic “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”.
Perhaps that’s the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren’t always graceful. However, with the hand of the Master, our life’s work can truly be beautiful. The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, “Don’t quit”. “Keep playing”. I met a man who shared this story with me while chatting. In return, he left me eulogizing his story of success… here it is…
A man with bibulous imaginations walks to his rickety old balcony of his rental room & begins to think about great people who made fortunes across the globe. Unable to sleep a wink, he asks himself – If this is him, a graduate working a 9-5 job, earning $9 per hour, who barely affords to pay his rent at the end of the month? Fantasizing the stories how big millionaires like Richard Bronson bought an island or Donald Trump acquired another building, he makes up his mind. He no longer wants to watch the same miserable faces to and from work on that same old train. He turns on his PC, opens his mail box & notices a message from his cousin – she was upset, since she longed to learn guitar, but she could barely afford lessons, she could neither invest money on a tutor nor time. Suddenly he feels himself exhausted. As he turns the switch off, he felt a light bulb that went off in his head. “It’s time for killing the rat on the wheels that goes no where. It’s time for ending up my drudgery”, he makes a wild decision, and “I’ve to start my own business.”
“Most of the times it happens that you want to start your own business, but you just don’t know where to begin. Most of my ideas either cost too much or I simply didn’t have the experience to make it work. As the thought of catching the train the next day dawned on me … I made a decision right there and then that I was going to make a change, starting from now”, he explains it all.
He was really upto something, he was going to start his own online business and show people how to play the guitar on the internet. Now, what principles say, if you can’t overcome a hurdle, just avoid it, ignore it. “Working a full time job” came in the way of his new venture. So what’s next, he quits the job.
“It’s strange, but when you want something badly enough — you’ll find a way to get it … no matter what!…I don’t know why I did that, but I still remember that gut feeling of next week … I have no money to buy groceries! I had a total $0 income.”
He started by writing one guitar lesson per day, no more and no less being consistent at his aim of making a booklet of around fifty pages. Computer algorithms have an excellent saying – “Garbage in, Garbage out”. Unless you put good stuff into your head, you can’t expect good stuff to appear in your hands. Spending lunch hours in the state library studying business books he learnt business, sales, marketing and customer service. He could not hire someone & he would compile his tutorial himself. He figured out a need of $5000 in his start up capital.
“So, I started scanning the local papers. I bought cheap laptops from graduating students and sold them for a profit to the new students. Sometimes I sold up to 5 laptops in one evening and made more profit in one night than an entire week at work.” he said.
By the end of it all … a grand saving of $5,000 in his wallet & 50 pages of guitar tutorial made his head was filled with business, marketing and customer service strategies. “I called my parents begging to stay in their garage for a few weeks till I got my business off the ground. I had just met my girlfriend at that stage, so you can imagine how humiliating that must have been — no job, no money and living in your parent’s garage … what kind of guy is this!…But I swallowed my pride, lived in a single garage with $0 income for a few weeks.”
Men make wonders in their own castle. A wall in the center of the room halved it for a part for his business work and the other for a single bed. That’s all the room there was! It was just the perfect illustration for two halves of your brain in your cranium, one for creative purpose & other for logical decisions.
If your mind can conceive it – you will achieve it – period! There is no substitute to hard work & success comes to those who dare & act. The timid never made fortunes. So he adds, “…During that time … I worked my A** off from dusk till dawn. I learned everything from how to build a web site to writing sales copy to connecting merchant accounts to marketing online and search engine submissions … you name it … I did it!”
Wait pal! Times were ain’t no good so far. You never build Rome over a night. Saplings would take time to grow. You just saw the root. If you demand your own fruit, then to taste it you must go for a period of hunger…And remember – this probation period makes no promises, no guarantees.
Months went by. But, presto! The first fruit you taste, no matter how big it is…Its flavor will be sweetest among all. “My first sale came in. I almost fell off my chair. It was only $27 but it meant a world to me. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel…”
After some search engine optimization study, his guitar site went to No. 1 in Google Page Rank. Allowing other people to re-sell his product for a commission & implementing an affiliate program he earned a handsome gross total of $5,000 a month. Now, a handy book turned into a media & graphics content rich flashy website that goes live & sends regular newsletters for free to the visitors who willingly sign up for it.
“I thanked my parents for use of their garage and cleared off their mortgage for them before I left. I wiped off all my student loans, bought my first Mercedes Benz straight off the showroom floor and built a brand new dream home for my wife and new baby boy to live in.”
Today they employ staff, contribute to charities, fly overseas every year on vacation and return home to a bigger bank account than when they first left…He is an Australian & he is only 27 years old, but he has rightly played a brand new ball game of life. He misses his colleague who still works at the same job for the same boss for the same weekly paycheck waiting for retirement. “It’s a great life and gets better each day…When you really focus and put your mind to it … great things can happen.”
There so much more out there, so much more to do, so much more to see, so much more to experience and so much more to enjoy. If you are silently saying to yourself … ‘it sounds good, but let’s get real’ … then that’s the precise point where we need to start! Your current mindset!
In conclusion…It’s possible! Don’t Quit…Keep Playing…