Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pillars of Support in A Person's Pursuit for Excellence

When we cheer on our Olympian, beam with pride as they add a medal to our country's medal count, I wonder how many people truly comprehend the sweat, tears, hardwork and sheer dedication that it has taken for that athlete to get there. When we watch Cirque de Soleil, listen to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra or watch Sachin score a double century in one inning, how many people are really aware of what it took for each artist to get to that level.

We applaud greatness, celebrate another achievement, are entertained by another accomplishment, but how often do we become apart of the support system to create another legend?

Last year, when Inspire had come to Rhythm Riders, I was asked what an individual can do to support the future of Indian classical music. My answer was broader than the question - support someone who wants to achieve depth in the field. The field doesn't need to be Indian classical music. It could be sports, it could traditional arts, it could be any non-conventional field. I particularly say non-conventional, though it can be any field, because that is where it can be often more difficult to find support, especially if you are not apart of a community where that field is the norm (ie. someone coming from a family of wrestlers wanting to be a musician).

There are two parts of the journey to realizing your dreams. The first is having the courage to step towards to (and usually simultaneously rejecting the status quo on what you should do), the second is to stay on the path in the face of adversity (which includes lack of support and acceptance from society).

Taking the road that diverges societal expectations is a longer path. It takes vision, a firm belief and a lot of hard work to walk on. Many Olympians or artists many come from families with a background in their field, but for those, I have no doubt that the path must have been harder. I know I'll never forget those months that passed before my loved ones really began to full-heartedly support me. With their limited understanding of what I was doing and wanted to do, their concern and doubts were justified, but that did not make it easy for me, knowing that I was causing them pain. Today, I can walk more confidently on my path, knowing that I have so much love and support and it makes a huge difference.

Next time you see or experience excellence, take a moment to appreciate what the person has done to achieve those heights and more importantly, reach out and support someone you know in their own pursuit of excellence. It can mean the world to them.

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