Submitted by Don Doman
On the Graham Norton Show, the popular British cable-TV talk show (BBC), Graham asked guest Paul McCartney if The Beatles had ever participated in local talent shows before they became famous. They had. Graham then asked if they had won. Nope. McCartney explained, “There was this old woman who played the spoons and she always beat us.” It sounds ludicrous that the band “considered by many as the greatest and most influential act of the rock era” lost out to a woman who played the musical spoons, but it’s true. A lesser band might have given up, but The Beatles continued as a group from 1960 to 1970 and eventually had sales of over one billion units (as estimated by EMI Records).
Think of other efforts that might have been abandoned in the face of seeming failure and humiliation. Imagine an artist displaying a creative painting in an exhibition and getting an honorable mention or no recognition at all, while the blue ribbon is given to someone who paints cats with big eyes, dogs playing poker or tropical scenes on black velvet. Imagine a computer programmer who comes up with a cell phone application to help diagnose signs of a medical condition but gets snowballed by an app that connects people to sites with the latest shoes. We must all judge our efforts/results based on what we know and believe.
We can’t completely ignore what others say or how they will react, but we should at least reflect on them. There’s an old Spanish saying that I’ve always liked, it’s something like this, “If one person calls you a jackass; never mind it. If two people call you a jackass; think about it. If three people call you a jackass; start looking for a saddle.”
If you defend your music, your service, your product and achieve a little success to fuel your passion and then you lose out to someone playing the spoons, don’t be disheartened. You may not have found your market yet. Seek consensus among people you trust, rather than just opinions; that’s just good market research. As they say, market research doesn’t cost money, it saves time AND money. If you are sure, then double your efforts; but never forget about those potential saddles . . . their memory could spur you on.