On Making Things Happen

In my twenty-five years, I’ve had quite a few experiences that many would qualify as “lucky”.

I’m friends with Carl Thompson, a legendary musician and luthier, and I’m privileged to own one of instruments (#111107).

I’ve met Les Claypool and attended one of his soundchecks, thanks to Carl.

I’ve flown to Nashville to study music with Victor Wooten on a weekend that just so happened to witness the Nashville flood, which resulted in me and my fellow campers spending the night at Victor’s house.

I own several beautiful custom instruments, all of which are completely unique and irreplaceable.

I’ve met many of my favorite musicians and gotten pictures and autographs. I met Béla Fleck in the Nashville Airport. I’ve met all six members of Umphrey’s McGee. I’ve learned from Anthony Wellington and Bob Franceschini.

I’ve travelled to music festivals in Georgia, Florida, and Michigan, often witnessing historic shows and one-off performances. I’ve gotten setlists, drumheads, and other memorabilia.

Just this week, I won third prize in the Wooten Won-Hundred Sweepstakes.

I don’t mean to sound like a spoiled little kid here. Rather, I want to use these examples to illustrate a fact.

You could interpret each of these events as “luck”. You could say I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. But, as my dad reminded me last night, my “luck” has really been the result of me trying to make things happen.

I wouldn’t be friends with Carl Thompson if I hadn’t had the courage to track down his number, pick up the phone, and call him. If I hadn’t, he wouldn’t have agreed to build me a bass. He wouldn’t have invited me to visit his shop and see Les Claypool’s soundcheck. If I hadn’t taken the initiative to develop a friendship with him — if I had just called, placed my order, and waited for it to be finished — I wouldn’t be able to say I’ve been to his birthday parties in Brooklyn or that I’ve watched his band play.

If I hadn’t decided to put in my application, spend some money, and fly to Nashville, I wouldn’t have spent a weekend at Victor Wooten’s house.

If I hadn’t made it a point to answer ten trivia questions every week for eleven weeks, I wouldn’t have won third prize in the sweepstakes.

None of these things would have happened if I just sat around and waited.

You can’t get an autograph if you don’t ask.

So while I may seem lucky — and I certainly do feel that way — I think it’s more accurate to say that I’ve cared enough about certain things to make sure they happened. Call it “seizing the day” or “never giving up” or what you will, but the point is that we can’t wait around for things to happen.

We need to make them happen.

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