Last week, we were asked to deliver a full day’s session for a secondary school. We rarely work in schools as our expertise and formats are more geared toward the corporate market. The purpose of the day was to illustrate to pupils that, in life, anything is possible if you have the passion and dedication to succeed.
To put this into physical practice, the entire year nine became a Junk Funk percussion orchestra, rehearsing all day to perform a piece at the end of the school day.
I wanted to highlight to the pupils (in much the same way as I try within our corporate activities) that, when someone is totally focused and obviously hell-bent on achieving something, positive things just seem to happen all around them! I demonstrated this with my own experiences of being their age and how I had learned that a burning passion can open many closed doors.
I still vividly remember, when I was 11 years ago, waking up one morning and deciding that I would play drums for the rest of my life! No question – that was it. From that day on, I practiced every second of every school play time and lunch break. I read every music book, and I even slept with my drumsticks. Teachers at school started to notice as I became more and more fanatical about drumming. Indeed, later in High School, teachers even bought me a full size drum kit – just for me!
My absolute dedication was at such an extent that the school caretaker would let me into school early (before most of the teachers had arrived) to practise. Then, I would lock up and hand him the keys after I’d finished practicing from 4pm onwards. On his way home, the head teacher would come down and just shake his head at me.
I was then asked by the school teachers to join their own rock band. A mere pupil playing with teachers was simply unheard of! This was an early lesson that that people are attracted to passionate and dedicated people and will go out of their way to help.
Years later, I would sit with puppy dog eyes next to the drummers of local bands in venues I should not have even been at! Eventually, the drummers would let me play for a while, and this soon led to offers to join for real.
Managers of local halls and community rooms would always allow me to practise for hours on end and for free. People couldn’t believe that I could be perfectly happy playing away on my own in dingy basements or secluded windowless rooms.
My total absorption in music led me daily to my local music shop, with many questions to ask or simply with the need to be around other musicians. I was soon offered Saturday work there and, from that, more and more musical opportunities flowed.
Looking back on my life, and looking at other people that I’ve come into contact with, it is clear that passion and dedication have been critical elements to achieving success. They are like magnets. They are inspirational and create possibilities. All you have to do is grab them! If you have a burning proactive desire to do something, opportunities WILL occur and then, from that, achieving ANYTHING is possible.
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