“There are no more possible moves. What do you want to do?” The words in the little blueish box glare out at me, demanding an answer. I am taking a break from work and the computer game of Solitaire seemed as if it would be a welcome diversion. I said it seemed so. As I gaze at the meddling dialog box, I am not relaxed.
What do I want to do? I’m not really sure. I could start the game over again. I’ve done that before. The problem is that almost without fail, the game ends in exactly the same way–with the frustrating blue box staring me in the face. I seem to see the same moves as the time before and miss any other options. Perhaps there is no right path to take anyway.
What do I want to do? I could go back a few moves and try to make some different choices. Again, almost invariably, the result is the same. The road is already set in place and I simply move along it, clicking on the possible moves, knowing that at any second the detestable blue box will pop up with it’s digital version of a child’s “Nanny Nanny Boo Boo”, to mock me.
What do I want to do? I quit. No more struggle; no more frustration; no more offensive blue box to make my life miserable. In fairness, I only quit this particular game and play another, with a new deal, a new set of possibilities. But, sooner or later, the little imp in the machine gets restless and appears once more. I am done. Click. “Quit the game?” Frustrated, I bang my hand down to manipulate the “yes” response. “Stupid game!”
Beaten. The end. Finis. It’s only a game after all. Or, is it?
You’ve seen the list of famous “failures”, haven’t you? The folks that went on to be amazing stars in their field, who were rejected on their first (and sometimes fiftieth) attempt. Here are just a few of them:
Walt Disney…fired from an early job at a newspaper. The editor said that he “had no imagination” and “no good ideas.” Out of options?
Michael Jordan…cut from his junior-varsity high school basketball team. Game over?
Henry Ford…failed in business five times and was left penniless each time. Time to quit?
Abraham Lincoln…went bankrupt twice, failed in business several times, and lost in twenty-six attempts at political office. No more possible moves?
This is only a tiny sampling. Many, many more “successful” people have failed and failed and failed again at their chosen profession, but believing that they were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing, ignored the signs right in front of their faces and found other moves to make.
Being in the music business, I have seen my share of people give up on their dreams. I won’t tell you that all of them should have followed those dreams in the first place. For every wild success in the music world, there are thousands of mediocre talents who are best suited to other pursuits, while keeping music in the context in which it functions best, that of enjoyment and, assuming a spiritual world-view, praise for their Creator. That said, there is something noble in the folks I see who have never given up their original aspirations. Always hoping, always scheming, always honing their skills, these people refuse to take no for an answer. One of these, a man in his seventies who has a fairly good local following for his music, was excited as he spoke with me recently. “I’m selling a lot of my recordings in Europe now. I wonder if I should put together a little tour over there?” In his seventies. No “game over” for him; none of this “no more possible moves” in his vocabulary. I admire his spirit.
What about you? Have you been beaten? Did somebody take a baseball bat to your dreams and destroy you in the process? Try as you might, that brick wall in front of you can’t be knocked down or scaled over or tunneled under? Nobody ever said it was easy. But, they didn’t tell you it would be this hard. Perhaps it’s time to quit. I hope you won’t. I hope you’ll keep fighting. Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, always the optimists, never the quitters, I hope you’ll keep going against impossible odds. (I wonder if they really did make it to Australia?)
“When you get the choice to sit it out, or dance…I hope you’ll dance.”
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot! Fred Astaire? “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Can dance a little.”
Success is just over the next mountaintop. Keep climbing!
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out, or dance;
(“I Hope You Dance~Mark Sanders/Tia Sillers~American songwriters)
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
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© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.