Once we reach a certain level of success, there is a danger of staying in the same place for too long. Understanding how to move on from this place and on to the next stage can be one of the greatest challenges that we face.
Emmett O’Hanlon is one of those rare classical performers whose rise to success coincided with production of a very informative YouTube channel where he talked about his experiences along the way. His musings on the creative life are extremely useful to those embarking on a similar creative path.
In We’ll Call Him John, Emmett tells the story about advice his father gave to a janitor unsure of whether to train for his lifelong dream as a doctor (video is cued up to 2:44 where the story starts):
One of the reasons to follow your dream immediately is that even if the original plan doesn’t work out, the process of taking that step opens up possibilities:
I’ve always approached things at 100 miles an hour. I’ve always approached things from a mindset of if I put this off, it’s just going to be that much longer until I get it. Obviously, some dreams are harder to get than others. Although I hate the word luck because it kind of demeans that hard work you put into something, it does take a level of luck, but if you’re not working towards that goal, nothing can happen. You can’t get lucky. So even if what ends up happening isn’t your original plan, something amazing will come out of that hard work.
In Story Time…Here We Go, Emmett talks about the challenges he faced with developing a fitness plan and how he overcame them:
On his fitness journey and how it wasn’t just about fitness:
Although it’s just a gym and it’s just fitness, for me it has proven that if you just fully dedicate 1000% to something, it will happen. That goes for careers, that goes for fitness, that goes for anything. Although it might seem easier for some people due to their luck or their position in life or whatever, that doesn’t mean that they’re more deserving than anyone else. You just have to see what you want and reconstitute everything you have to that purpose.
…With the fitness stuff I wasn’t lucky genetically. It really is something in my life that has taught a lot about myself. I learned that if I indulge myself, I will procrastinate. I’ve also learned that if I do procrastinate it causes me a lot of anxiety because I hate wasting time. Because the only true resource that is fleeting is time. Since I’ve been taught this lesson of driving yourself and dedicating yourself to something, I now have all these new things I want to do and all these new goals I have for myself, and my only enemy in the mission to get these things is time, because I know as long as I put the hours in and the work in, I can achieve something towards that goal. Because you have to come to terms with the fact that there’s only so much we get done in a day, or an hour, or 10 minutes.
Let’s not forget that Emmett is first and foremost an awesome baritone! Here he is with pianist Andrew King singing New York, New York: