Ignacy Paderewski is not a name well-known in many households today. He was born in a city now located in Ukraine.
However, he was hugely instrumental in seeking the favor of President Woodrow Wilson to help Poland became an independent nation that was not part of the Russian Empire.
However, for those who know music well, the name Paderewski is synonymous with the playing and composing of classical music.
At just 18 years of age, and as a mark of the skills he had particularly in playing the piano, this man was offered the opportunity to become a teacher at the Warsaw Conservatory, which is one of the largest and oldest music schools in Europe.
Over the course of his life, he gave many concerts around Europe and the United States.
It is said that at one concert, a woman was enamored with him and his playing. After several minutes of this unwanted attention, the great pianist is said to have stopped her and said, “Madame, before I was a genius, I was a drudge!”
Each of us has the ability to do what we want with our lives.
However, many of us do not avail ourselves of the opportunities that present themselves. We might want to take advantage of them, but we are not willing to be a drudge first.
For example, I might say that I would LOVE to expertly play an instrument, or that I would LOVE to speak fluent Mandarin. The reality is that I do not play an instrument with a great degree of skill, nor do I speak fluent Mandarin.
The question is not whether I have the ability to do either of those two things for I have the ability to take lessons and learn how to play.