success

Success means practically nothing.

Lots of people will tell you they can help you succeed or that they will give you every possible advantage, so if you don’t succeed, it will be your fault.

But what do they mean when they say “success?” What do YOU mean when you say it? What is it you’re trying to succeed at?

If your answer isn’t “getting out of bed” or “finishing that sandwich” or any other task that has a clearly defined beginning and end, you’re never going to succeed.

Even if you said something like “I want to succeed at playing the trumpet,” you’re setting yourself up to fail. Because how will you know when you’re playing the trumpet successfully? Once you know the basics — how to read and play the notes on your sheet music — you’ll start thinking of success as playing something a bit more complicated, and then when you can do that, success will start to look a lot more like playing in an orchestra, and then when you get your first job in the orchestra, you’ll think how much more of a success you’d be if you were a first-chair trumpet player, and once you’re sitting comfortably face-to-stomach with your conductor, you’ll start to wonder about those REALLY successful trumpet players in the London Philharmonic and so on.

“Success” is a dumb thing to strive for, an ever-receding mirage in the dry, dry desert of life. You won’t get there. Learn to play some scales on the trumpet instead. See where it takes you.