Every day, musicians face a fork in the road:

Do I practice or do I skip it today?  Each day, as you face this question, you are determining your future.

One path leads to the ability to face challenges and meet them head on.  It is the path of success–whether in music or in any other endeavor.

The other path leads to feelings of guilt and always running from what’s important to you.

A very small change in your behavior today has stunning consequences down the road.

Consider these two people:

Both are 20 pounds overweight.  Both want to lose this weight.  Both come up with the same specific plan to lose the weight:  Stop eating desserts and walk 30 minutes a day.

Each day, these two people face a question.  They wake up in the morning and say to themselves, “Should I go for that walk this morning?”  If, on one day either of them say, “No, I’ll just skip this one day and get back to it tomorrow,” it’s likely they won’t walk tomorrow either.

Person one dedicates their life to this change.  They put the goal in writing.  They put the plan in writing.  They tell their spouse about the plan so they have outside support.  Every day, when he returns from work, he goes for that walk before dinner.  After dinner, he says no to eating dessert.  Each day is a challenge to make these decisions.  But, he makes the decisions that are part of his plan.

Person Two has the same dedication and starts with the same steps: goals and plan in writing.  The first week everything goes according to plan.  On day 8, he gets home from work and says, “I don’t feel like walking tonight,” so he skips the walking.  Here’s what will happen: By the end of week 2, that person will only have gone on 5 walks, not 7 as planned.  It will get easier and easier to skip the walk.  By the end of four or five weeks, the plan will be abandoned.  The weight will not be lost.  The desserts will get eaten.

This fork in the road exists for all of us in our musical life.  We must decide which way to turn.  Whether it’s exercising or practicing, it’s the daily pursuit that gets the results.

You can’t make up for it later.  You can’t say on the last day of the week, “Well I didn’t do my 30 minutes of practicing a day.  I’ll just practice for 3 1/2 hours today to make up for it.”  It doesn’t work that way!

You face the fork in the road every day.  Which path will you choose?

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