Sunday, February 15, 2009


TJ's oldest daughter, "S" asked me, as we were driving to the singing audition, if I were nervous. I answered her quite honestly, that I was not. I sing as well as I sing. I cannot make myself sing with a different voice. This is the voice I was given and it has served me in my singing for over 40 years. I started publicly singing solos at 8 years old in church. So, 43 years of singing solos. You do the math.

Now, in my opinion, the National Anthem is one of the harder songs to sing. It requires some range. As I have watched the auditions over the years, I have found the mistake most auditioneers make is starting too high. In the middle when the song jumps and octave or 7, it is hard to reach high if you start too high. I prefer to start lower so that i am assured to have the power at the end. The finish is what will stick in their minds. This is my 4th audition in as many years. I have sang the anthem at a ball game the last three years in a row. Again, it is a blast.

I did start thinking, after the question, about success and failure. here is my quick take on failure:

The success of failure:

To never fail is to never try, which is a failure, in and of itself. To fail is to try to do something you cannot do. To fail a second time is to not give up too easily. To fail for a lifetime is to show a determination rarely found. It is in our trying and failing that we learn the most about ourselves. We live in a society that is largely based on success. The success that our culture is seeking is based on monetary gratification. What will it profit me? That is the question of the day.

While it is possible to measure the success of an individual using that system, it is impossible to track the success of a failure with it. We succeed in failure when we walk away more knowing. Thomas Edison unsuccessfully tried to invent a light bulb some two thousand times. He said, “I did not fail. I merely learned two thousand ways not to make a light bulb.”
How many inventions would never come to fruition if the inventor stood on the precipice of failure and turned away?

What life lesson would you discard if you walked away after one failed attempt?

How much more do we learn from our failures than our successes?

Believe me, I have had my share of failed attempts. I have even given up on some things in my life. Some were wise decisions. Some are ‘jury is still out’ decisions.

Then there are these two questions that give me a headache:

If I set out to fail, and succeed, did I fail?

If I set out to fail and fail, did I succeed?

Oh yeah, and there was a 'butterfly' moment just before I took the stage to sing.


Debbie said...

Isn't this what we tell our kids all the time? That we are proud of them for putting themselves out there and trying. And I'm proud of you and TJ. I think it gets harder as we get older - maybe because there isn't a parent there to tell us those things.

jill jill bo bill said...

See I would just be proud for the mear fact I didn't split my pants open or fall off the stage. You have the added bonus of saying you rocked it! And debbie is right. We so often tell our kids the advice we ourselves should be listening to.